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VOL. I. 






Gum-elastic, or India rubber, the subject treated of in the following 
pages, has become one of such general interest to mankind, that it is 
presumed no apology will be necessary for a publication of this kind ; 
especially as httle has heretofore been written, and little is generally 
known with regard to it. 

If an apology were necessary, the customary one might with truth 
be made : the solicitations of friends and men of science, who have 
deemed the matters herein contained of public interest. 

Notwithstanding the writer has been influenced by these considera- 
tions, he is wilhng that it should be distinctly understood, that one 
object he has in view in pubhshing this work, is to claim and secure 
for himself and his country, that which is emphatically his, viz., the 
credit of the discovery of the art of heating or vulcanizing gum- 
elastic, which renders it so generally useful. 

Another object in view is to disseminate knowledge upon a subject 
which is of vast importance to the interests and welfare of man- 
kind, and which is as yet but imperfectly understood. There is too 
little known by the best informed, in reference to the varieties of trees 
that produce the gum, and the countries where they are found, to 
satisfy the curiosity of most persons. It is hoped that by further 
investigation, there may be added to the work, at a future period, 
whatever is interesting, either on this or other portions of the subject. 



The writer finds himself so identified with the subject, that he 
deems it impossible to give a correct history of the recent inventions 
in gum-elastic, without alluding to himself oftener than he could 
wish, by speaking of the trials and discouragements which he had to 
encounter during the first seven years of his experiments. 

If the reader is disposed to charge him with alluding too often to 
incidents of personal history connected with that of the subject, he 
may plead in extenuation, that the whole period of seven years was 
but a continued succession of occurrences similar to those related, 
and equally entitled to narration. 

However dry and uninteresting the literary contents may be, the 
aim has been to make the work useful, and, by the use of gum- 
elastic in its construction, to make the subject the better understood, 
from its being tangible, and emphatically a gum-elastic work. 

If the author has succeeded better in the mechanical than in the 
literary execution of the book, it may be said that this is as it should 
be: his profession is not that of authorship; and further, for those 
who have both duties to perform, it is often less difficult to do things 
that are interesting, than it is to give an interesting account of them. 


The writer has been impelled to issue this publication from 
numerous considerations. The novelty of the subject, the 
extraordinary properties of the substance, the numerous inven- 
tions and appliances growing out of it, the absolute necessity of 
imparting instruction and explanations to the great number who 
are constantly engaging in some branches of a manufacture 
with which they have previously had no knowledge, together 
with the inquiries which are constantly made by those who, 
from motives of curiosity or interest, are desirous of obtaining 
information on the subject ; all these, and many other causes 
combined, have imposed upon the inventor an amount of labor 
to which his physical powers, being in feeble health, are wholly 
inadequate. Of a portion of this labor he hopes, in a great 
measure, to relieve himself by this publication. 

It is believed that almost every pei'son, in whatever situation 
in life, will find in this work something useful for him indi- 
vidually to know, a description of some article which would be 
of service in his occupation, or beneficial for the preservation of 
his life, health, or property ; or else such a description of the 
properties and use of the various fabrics treated of, as may aid 
him in determining whether any particular fabric is adapted for 
any use or application he desires to make of it. While it will 
be discovered that the inventor is enthusiastic and sanguine on 
the subject of these inventions, he would not have attributed to 


him the design to palm them upon the community, or recommend 
gum-elastic for uses for which the substance was never intended. 
Although the native Indians may drink it in the form of sap, 
with impunity, he is not so infatuated with the subject as to re- 
commend it as an article of food. 

It should not be worn next the skin, nor should one sleep 
enveloped by it ; such are not the legitimate uses of the article. 
The extent and variety of the applications of this substance are 
sufficiently numerous and important, without stretching the list 
of them beyond reason. The views of the inventor, as regards 
these inventions and applications, are practically demonstrated 
in reference to them all, by the production of the articles de- 
scribed, with few exceptions, and of these, specimens are pro- 

He presents no theory of a subject unsupported by demon- 
stration, nor are these demonstrations mere specimens for exhi- 
bition, as of figures made in wax, or to gratify idle curiosity. It 
is generally well known that many of the articles are exten- 
sively used and highly approved ; and the inventor believes that 
all classes of articles herein recommended, (if not each particular 
article,) will, in like manner, be found useful for the purposes for 
which they are designed. And as to the fact of a great im- 
provement being made in gum-elastic, by the heating or vul- 
canizing process, and the. peculiar and extraordinary proper- 
ties of the substance made known, by the discovery of the 
writer, the truth is too well established, by seven years' trial, 
to admit of a doubt. 

The inventor does not deem it at all presumptuous to present 
the idea of this subject, as being associated with the cause of 
humanity and philanthropy. When the great number of articles 
for the protection of life, health, and property, to which the 
substance and the fabrics treated of are perfectly adapted, are 
taken into consideration, the reader will admit that too much 
has not been assumed. 

As regards his own pecuniary interests, under the present 
patent laws of the country, and considering, too, the uncertain 


tenure of intellectual property, he is fully aware that his com- 
pensation, like that of most inventors or discoverers, may be 
but the scourge of litigation and of " hope deferred that maketh 
the heart sick ;" and yet it may be reasonably expected, that 
when the plans of the inventor are generally understood and 
appreciated, a diiferent result may follow, and a reasonable com- 
pensation be obtained. 

This work, with the drawings and the descriptions con- 
tained in it, will at least have this good effect, to prevent much 
waste of time and money in litigation and dispute, between 
other persons as to what is new, in the application of metal- 
lized or vulcanized gum-elastic. It is a thing of almost every- 
day occurrence, that an individual makes an invention, that is 
actually such, as far as he is concerned, and it is supposed by 
him to be quite new, when it afterwards appears that it has been 
previously made by another, if not by many others long before. 
Time and money would have been saved, and controversy pre- 
vented, if the first inventor had published his invention to the 

If the writer is thought to be extravagant in his predic- 
tions, with regard to the future use and importance of some 
things he has described, which are as yet hardly known to the 
public, it may be attributed, in part, to a presentiment of the 
future, quite common to inventors, with regard to the future 
usefulness of their improvements. These anticipations, in some 
cases, fall far short of what is subsequently realized, in the bene- 
fits conferred on mankind ; and it comes to be often remarked, 
after the discoverers are gone, that they were not aware in their 
lifetime of what they had accomplished, and what benefits they 
had conferred upon others. This is no doubt sometimes the 
case ; but in general, it may be presumed that the man who 
really understands his subject, can anticipate the future very 
nearly with regard to it. 

Notwithstanding the allusions that are made in the following 
pages, to circumstances of trial and embarrassment for the want 
of pecuniary means to pursue his investigations, the writer 


would be chargeable with ingratitude if he neglected to ac- 
knowledge, that while the public mind was filled with indiffer- 
ence or disgust in regard to any thing that related to gum- 
elastic, he was at different periods aided and sustained, not only 
by the sympathy of others, but by loans of money from numerous 
friends and acquaintances, without which the degree of perfec- 
tion which has been attained in these improvements might 
never have been realized. 

Fourteen years, in all, have been spent by the writer in ex- 
perimenting, to complete a system of improvements and inven- 
tions, of various fabrics and articles growing out of the first 
discovery made by him ; and to perfect and render practicable, 
the various processes and manipulations connected with the 
manufacture. Although many of the articles have for several 
years been advertised, and supplied to the public by the licen- 
cees of the inventor, and notices have occasionally been made 
by the press, of different improvements of the inventor, yet he 
now presents, for the first time, the subject as a complete system. 

Much yet remains to be done in detail, and the manufacture, 
like all others of importance, will be one of constant develop- 
ment and progression ; but it is believed that a great share 
of the important applications, and perhaps all the important 
fabrics, are described in the following pages, so that as a whole, 
the author is satisfied with his labors ; and in this manner 
presents them to the world, hoping that they will also meet the 
just appreciation and the approbation of mankind. 

I am indebted to Charles Smith, Esq., and Henry L. Norris, 
Esq., formerly of New York, for many interesting particulars 
relating to the Indian manufacture. 

The former of these gentlemen has been, for many years, a 
resident and consul of the United States at Para. The latter, 
who was formerly engaged in the India rubber business in New 
York, is now an exporter of gum-elastic from Para, in connec- 
tion with the house of Messrs. James Bishop & Co., of New 
York. These gentlemen have every opportunity of giving cor- 
rect information on this subject. 


In addition to whatever else this book may contain of interest 
to the public, it is designed as a specimen of the art of binding 
books with India rubber. The plates and maps are printed on 
India rubber fabrics, and a few copies, designed for public 
libraries, are printed on India rubber tissue. 


VOL. I. 






The Ficus elasticus. Its growth and description. The Euphorbicea tribe. The Massaranduba. 
The caoutchouc tree of Assam. Varieties of caoutchouc, and its specific gravity. Dr. Ure's 
analysis of the gum. Remarks on trees producing gums resembling caoutchouc p. 15 



The Boracca of Brazil and varieties of gum-elastic. India gum. Its solvents. Mode of gathering. 
The Para gum. The virgin gum. Properties of the native gum. Extracts from scientific works 
respecting caoutchouc and its varieties. Gutta percha p. 19 



Gum Ieic, or shellac. Pine and other fir-tree gums. Bitumen of various kinds — asphaltum, coal- 
tar, &c p. 35 



Condamine's paper to the French Academy on gum-elastic. First importation of shoes into the 
TJnited States. Para the principal place of export. Method of gathering the gum by the Indians, 
and their manufacture of shoes and toys. European manufacture. Of Mcintosh. Of the 
French. American manufacture. The Roxbury company p. 43 





The present method of gathering gum-elastic objectionable. The smoking process unnecessary. 
Exposure to the sun injurious. Disadvantage of impure admixtures in gathering to manufact- 
ure. Virgin gum. Imported impure gums. The tropical regions yield an immense supply of 
gum-elastic page 57 



Sheet India rubber. Peculiarities of the invention. Laminated fabrics of cotton and gum. Com- 
mencement of the manufacture. The author's reasons for patenting his improvements. The 
process of solarization. An extract from Percival. Awardsgiven to the Inventor. Certificates. 
Copy of original specification of patent, 1844, as legally prepared in 1841. The process patented 
in England, in 1814. Synoptical statement on the author's claim to his inventions p. 67 



Influences which led the author to the discovery of his invention. Some particulars of the au- 
thor's personal history ; his apprenticeship. Commences in the domestic hardware and com- 
mission business. Visits the store of the Roxbury India Rubber Company in New York. 
Commences the manufacture of India rubber goods at New Haven. Meets with difficulties. 
Removes to New York, and continues his experiments. The acid gas process. Obtains a 
patent. The new articles are introduced into England by Dr. Bradshaw, and a patent taken out 
in that country by Mr. Hancock. Visits Roxbury, and prosecutes his labors with more success. 
Grants licenses. Experiments with sulphur. Result of an experiment. Embarrassments of 
the author. Discovery of vulcanizing. Results of previous failures. Difficulties to encounter. 
Incidents attending the discovery. First successful operation p. 91 



The sole object sought after by numerous experimenters. The success of the author. The method 
of vulcanizing. Remarkable and very useful properties developed by the process. Availability 
and supply of the raw material p. 131 


Characteristics of the native gum. Goodyear's heated or vulcanized India rubber ; its elasticity ; 
pliability ; durability ; insolubility ; unalterability ; inadhesiveness ; impermeability ; plasticity ; 
facility of printing, and of being ornamented by painting, bronzing, gilding, japanning, and mix- 
ing with colors; non-electric property; odor. Test of vulcanized and unvulcanized gum- 
elastic p. 137 




Steam and water-power. Capital. Machinery. Cutting and washing machine. Compounding. 
Crushing and grinding machine. Warming machine. Spreading. Manufacture by dissolving. 
Manipulation. Heating. Solarization. Curing or tanning. Cleansing the goods. Peforating. 
Napping. Embossing. Japanning, bronzing, printing with type, copperplate, blocks, litho- 
graphy, &c. Gilding. Plating. Cording. Thread cutting. Shirring. Moulding. Hollow- 
ware moulds. Concluding remarks ; page 149 



Metallic gum-clastic, the name first given by the author to his invention. Why so termed. 
Printed fabrics bound in volumes. An enumeration of the principal variety of fabrics. Easy 
combination of the gum with other substances. A table showing the uses of the metallic 
gum, as substitutes. Instructions for making up the fabrics after they are metallized or vulcan- 

■ ized. Elastic compound. Non-elastic compound. Stayed compound. Drapery. Medicated 
drapery. Caoutchouc cloths. Sponge. Tufted sponge. Sponge fabric. Fibrous fabrics. 
Tissue. Vellum. Plated fabrics. Felt, or vegetable leather. Corded fabrics. Barred goods. 
Knit goods. Shirred goods. Packing. Gritted goods. Napped goods. Embossed fabrics. 
Ventilated goods. Quilted fabrics. Perforated goods. Card cloths. Coated cloths. Porous 
fabrics. Indelible goods. Japanned goods. Hollow ware. Cord ware. Wire-work. Wicker- 
work. Air-work. Elastic cord. Braided cord. Elastic cordage. Covered cordage. Vellum 
cord. Sponge cord. Hard compounds. Caoutchouc enamel. Caoutchouc ivory. Caoutchouc 
buck-horn. Caoutchouc whalebone. Caoutchouc deal boards. Caoutchouc veneers. Enam- 
eled ware p. 177 



The author adopts the plan of granting licenses to manufacturers, who stamp all articles made 
under the various patents with the author's name. Advantages and disadvantages resulting 
from the plan adopted. Remarks on the want of security to inventors by the present patent 
laws. New articles to be presented to the public. The utility of these articles in the advance- 
ment of education, and preservation of life, health and property p. 225 


Patents and patent laws p. 235 



The Ficus elasticus. Its growth and description. The Euphorbicea tribe. The Massaranduba. 
The Caoutchouc tree of Assam. Varieties of Caoutchouc, and its specific gravity. Dr. Ure's 
analysis of the gum. Remarks on trees producing gums resembling Caoutchouc. 

A MORE specific and minute account, than we are able to give, 
of the trees of South America and India, as well as other parts 
of the globe, which produce the genuine gum-elastic, would be 
highly interesting, as also an account of the peculiarities of the 
various trees and plants which yield a sap, and some of them a 
gum, that very nearly resemble gum-elastic in appearance, but 
which do not possess its wonderful property of elasticity. 

From the accounts that are published, as well as the report 
of travelers, it is evident that there is a marked difference be- 
tween the trees of South America which yield the genuine gum- 
elastic, and those of India, as well as a difference hereafter 
noticed in the gum which they produce. 

We are informed by persons who have visited the regions 
where India rubber trees abound, that they are much more ac- 
cessible in India, and on the western coast of South America, 
than they are in the dense forests of Brazil. 

It is obvious that the warlike and indolent, or peaceable and 
industrious character of the natives of the different countries, 
must also affect very much the cost of the gum in the different 
countries where it is obtained. 

It is undoubtedly owing very much to influences of this kind, 
that the gum from India and Borneo has heretofore been im- 
ported, on the average, at less than half the cost of that from 


The Ficus elastica, genuine Caoutchouc, or India rubber 
tree, is of the siphilla tribe, and is found in abundance in Brazil. 
It is the common growth of the forest of that country. It reaches 
to the height of from eighty to one hundred feet, and to about forty 
or fifty feet without branches, the trunk measuring from twelve 
to eighteen inches in diameter. The tree is tufted with a thick 
glossy foliage, and has a leaf resembling very closely the chest- 
nut leaf, only larger and thicker, being about five inches in length. 
Like other trees, when in an open situation, the branches grow 
nearer the ground, and have a greater spread. The genuine 
gum-elastic tree has never been made to grow in the United 
States. The gum-elastic tree which is commonly exhibited in 
the hot houses of northern latitudes, does not yield the genuine 
gum-elastic, although it produces a sap that has exactly the 
appearance of that of the India rubber tree. 

From Kidder's Travels in Brazil : — 

" There are several varieties of trees, most of them belonging 
to the tribe Euphorbicea, which produce a gum of this sort. 
Another tree, not uncommon in Brazil, is the Massaranduba, 
which yields a white secretion, that so resembles milk in its 
qualities, that it is highly valued as an aliment. The trees yield 
this milk in great profusion; of which, when coagulated, a 
plaster is formed of the curd, that is deemed valuable. Their 
botanical character has never been properly investigated. It is 
presumed that there is a close affinity between the Massaranduba 
of Brazil, the cow tree of Demarara, and the butter tree of 
Africa. The sap of the India rubber tree is also sometimes 
used as milk, by the Negroes and Indians who work in its 
preparation. It is said that they are fond of drinking it, and 
that it was the custom among the Indians to present a bottle of 
it to every guest, at the beginning of one of their feasts." 

From the Supplement to lire's Dictionary we extract the 
following : — 

" Hitherto the greater part of the caoutchouc has been im- 
ported into Europe from South America, and the best from 
Para ; but of late years a considerable quantity has been brought 


from Java, Penang, Singapore, and Assam. About three years 
ago, Mr. Wm. Griffith pubHshed an interesting report upon the 
Ficus elastica, the caoutchouc tree of Assam, which he drew up 
at the request of Captain Jenkins, agent in that country, for the 
governor-general of India. This remarkable fig tree is either 
solitary, or in two-fold or three-fold groups. It is larger, and 
more umbrageous than any of the other trees in the extensive 
forest where it abounds, and may be distinguished from the 
other trees, at a distance of several miles, by the picturesque 
appearance produced by its dense, huge and lofty crown. The 
main trunk of one was carefully measured, and was found to 
have a circumference of no less than seventy-four feet ; while the 
girth of the main trunk, along with the support immediately 
around it, was one hundred and twenty feet. The area covered 
by the expanded branches, had a circumference of six hundred 
and ten feet. The height of the central tree was one hundred 

" It has been estimated, after an accurate survey, that there 
are forty-three thousand two hundred and forty such noble trees 
within a length of thirty miles, and breadth of eight miles, of 
forest near Ferosepoor, in the district of Chardwar, in Assam. 

From Ure's Dictionary of Arts, &c. : — 

" Caoutchouc. Caoutchouc occurs as a milky juice, in several 
plants, such as the siphonia cahuca, called also hevea guainensis 
cautschuc, jatropha elastica, castilliga elastica, cecropia pellata, 
ficus religiosa and undica, urceolaria elastica, &c. It is, how- 
ever, extracted chiefly from the first plant, which grows in South 
America and Java. 

" Its specific gravity is 0.925. It melts at 248° Fahrenheit, 
and stands afterwards a much higher heat without undergoing 
any further change. 

" It has lately been employed very extensively in making 
elastic bands or braces. The original manufacturer of these 
elastic webs is a major in the Austrian service, who erected a 
great factory at St. Deny's, near Paris, 1803. 

" Caoutchouc, according to my experiments, which have been 



confirmed by those of Mr. Faraday, contains no oxygen, as 
almost all other solid vegetable products do ; but is a mere com- 
pound of carbon and hydrogen, in the proportion, by my results, 
of ninety carbon to ten of hydrogen. Mr. Faraday obtained only 
87° carbon." 

From the foregoing extracts, and the testimony of individuals, 
together with the specimens of the inferior gums that have been 
imported, we have ample proof that there is a gradation of these 
productions, from the best genuine caoutchouc, down to those 
kinds that are quite non-elastic, all of which are obtained from 
the sap of various trees and plants.* 

Some of these trees and plants yield a similar sap which does 
not inspissate, but which might possibly be made to do so by 
the use of chemical agents. 

It becomes a matter of interest, and, in fact, of great import- 
ance, to ascertain whether some of these gums, that are con- 
sidered inferior because they are not elastic, may not serve the 
same purposes as gum-elastic for the plating or coating of non- 
elastic fabrics. Among the numerous varieties of water-proof 
gums that are found in all equatorial regions, it is exceedingly 
probable that some which are not now known in the market, or 
even noticed in the countries where they are produced, will be 
found to answer the above purposes, and perhaps be less objec- 
tionable on account of odor than India rubber ; and, like all other 
gums, resins, and bitumens that have yet been found, it may be 
presumed that they will be changed, either alone or in combina- 
tion with caoutchouc, by the process of vulcanization ; and it 
may with equal probability be assumed that none of them will 
be found which do not require to be divested of their native 
adhesive properties by the process of vulcanization, in order to 
render them generally useful. 

■ The tree which yields the genuine India rubber in Brazil, is very generally called the Seringa 



The Boracca of Brazil and varieties of gum-elastic. India gum. Its solvents. Mode of 
gathering. The Para gum. The virgin gum. Properties of the native gum. Extracts 
from scientific works respecting caoutchouc and its varieties. Gutta Perclia. 

" This substance is now indiscriminately called gum-elastic, 
caoutchouc, and India rubber. It is sometimes called by the 
Brazilians, boracca ; but it is more commonly called by the In- 
dians, seringa. The pronunciation of caoutchouc, the aboriginal 
name, is similar to that of cahuchee." It is found in most, if not 
all countries under and near the equator. The importation of 
this article has in former years been chiefly from the city of 
Para, in the province of Para, South America. Very recently the 
trade in it has extended to the western coast of South America, 
where it is said to be most abundant, and of the best quality. 

The sap, when it exudes from the tree, is of a milky whiteness, 
about the consistence of honey, resembling that of the poppy 
or milkweed of northern latitudes, which also contain a minute 
portion of an elastic substance, very much hke India rubber. 
It will not flow to any considerable distance from the tree, before 
it coagulates, or separates from the whey, or liquid part of the 
sap, and it is, therefore, drawn into clay cups attached to the 
tree, in the manner hereafter described. 

There are three varieties of the genuine gum-elastic, among 
which, there is a marked difference, although it is not in the 
present stage of the manufacture, sufficient to cause any great 
difference in the quality of the goods made from them. 

The first which I shall describe, is India gum. This has 
heretofore been imported mostly from the islands of Borneo, 



Sumatra, and Java, and also from Assam. This gum is of a 

reddish, or flesh color. It contains parts carbon, parts 

hydrogen ; the specific gravity is . It is soluble in sulphuric 

ether, and the essential oils. Turpentine or camphene is used 
in the United States as a solvent for manufacturing purposes, 
but naphtha has been more commonly used in England. 

It has to this time been imported into the United States at 
about one-third the price of the manufactured bottle, and shoe 
gum from Para, or from five to eight cents per pound. Notwith- 
standing the extremely low price, it has not heretofore been in 
great demand, in consequence of the quantity of small particles 
of bark that are intermixed with it, amounting to about five per 
cent, of its weight. 

It is evident from its appearance, that it is gathered by scar- 
ring: the tree, and allowing it to flow down the trunk, and that 
it is afterwards stripped off" and wound up in skeins or hanks, 
with particles of the bark adhering to it. These hanks are 
heaped in masses, in which state it comes as ballast with cargoes 
of light goods, teas, silks, &c. 

Machinery has been recently applied with great success for 
cleansing this gum, at a cheap rate, yet it is to be hoped that it 
may hereafter be imported in a clean state, for it cannot be 
cleansed as perfectly as it might be gathered, and a very slight 
difference in this respect makes a material difference in the 
value of the article. 

The second variety, caoutchouc, or gum-elastic, obtained 
from Para, manufactured by the natives, has always been 
esteemed the best, and formerly was the only gum which it was 
safe to re-manufacture ; and even now, it is commonly consid- 
ered the best, although in point of fact, it is not so. That 
from Para which is not smoked, and that which comes from the 
Pacific coast of South America, is equally good ; and the 
virgin gum, when well seasoned, is better. 

This gum contains 87 parts carbon, and 13 parts hydrogen ; 
specific gravity, according to Ure, is 0.935.* It is soluble in the 
same way as the first variety. For some years past, the price 

• It melts at 248° Fahrenheit. 



of the manufactured or smoked article from Para, has remained 
at about the same, varying from eighteen to thirty cents per 
pound, according to its quality. It may be important to state 
here, that although some of the trees, like some animals, yield 
richer milk than others, this difference in price is not owing 
to any real difference, in the quality of any particular variety 
of gum, but depends on the degree of cleanliness, the age of the 
gum, or the length of time it has been gathered, as there is 
more gum in the same weight when it has been well dried, 
there being less moisture in the old, than in the new gum. 

The third variety is that which is known in the United 
States as virgin gum. This flows spontaneously from the roots of 
the tree, and forms ill-shapen masses of from five to thirty 
pounds weight. The tree is the same as that which yields the 
second variety in South America. When well seasoned, or 
dried, it makes the best goods, and is more readily metallized 
or vulcanized than the other varieties. It contains ninety parts 

carbon and ten parts hydrogen, its specific gravity . It 

is dissolved by the same solvents as the other two varieties, but 
it is not so easily acted upon by them. When this gum has 
acquired great age, it is nearly impossible to dissolve that which 
is obtained from the oldest trees. 

The virgin gum is of a much harder nature than either of the 
other two kinds. After being kept for several years it becomes, 
for a considerable depth beneath the surface, nearly as hard as 
horn or whalebone. The other kinds appear to season, and 
become more solid for about two years, and not to change 
materially afterwards. 

The virgin gum was formerly imported into the United States 
at one-third the present price of the bottle and shoe gum, but 
for some years past it has not been much exported from Para. 
This fact, the writer is of opinion, is satisfactorily accounted for, 
in the chapter under the head of " method of gathering the gum," 
page . 




Native gum, or Caoutchouc, does not lose any of its valuable 
properties, by age or exposure to moisture. It is not materially 
injured, (although it is penetrated and considerably softened,) 
vv^hen immersed long in water. It is, however, soon damaged 
by exposure to a hot sun, which is the only injury those who are 
engaged in gathering or dealing in it, need to guard against, 
except that of getting foreign substances mixed with it. When 
left to coagulate with the whey, or sap, it contracts a tainted odor, 
and filthy appearance, and some persons have rejected it, on this 
account, supposing it to be damaged, when it is not. This is dis- 
tinct from the natural odor of the gum, treated of in another 
place, and does no harm, as it is dispelled by the heat of the 
vulcanizing process. 

The air- and water-proof quality of gum-elastic is one with 
which the pubhc are well acquainted. 

Great adhesiveness is another remarkable property of this 
substance. Where two surfaces of the gum are brought in 
contact, they are readily and solidly united, by the application of 
heat and pressure. When in large masses, after being sometime 
exposed to the atmosphere, it appears to be inadhesive, and inde- 
structible, but when spread out into thin layers, on cloth or in 
sheets, it is quite the opposite. When any two surfaces of it 
are brought in contact, if perfectly clean, they adhere together 
even without pressure, so that they cannot be separated. It was 
losing sight of this fact, or not understanding it, that led to such 
mistakes, and losses in the early attempts to manufacture the 
article, in America. In cold, or even moderately cold weather, 
it becomes so stiflf and hard, when of any considerable thickness, 
as to render it unfit for any use, where flexibility is required, 
without first being warmed. 

The most remarkable quality of this gum, is its wonderful elas- 
ticity. In this consists the great difference between it, and all 



other substances. It can be extended to eight times its ordinary 
length, without breaking, when it will again resume its original form. 

There is probably no other inert substance, the properties of 
which excite in the human mind, when first called to examine it, 
an equal amount of curiosity, surprise, and admiration. Who 
can examine, and reflect upon this property of gum-elastic, with- 
out adoring the wisdom of the Creator ? 

In early life, on first obtaining a thin scale, from a newly 
imported bottle of the Indian manufacture, it occurred to the 
writer that if any method could be discovered of preventing the 
surfaces from adhering together, when brought in contact, it 
would constitute a beautiful fabric, for many purposes. The 
ideas of it then entertained, are already, more than realized. 

The odor of the native gum, is very offensive to many persons, 
and has always been a great objection to its use. The writer 
does not profess to have entirely removed this objection, by his 
process of metallizing or vulcanizing, as described in another 
part of this work. Upon this point the reader will find more 
particular remarks under the head of "Metallic or Vulcan- 
ized Gum-Elastic." 

Notwithstanding all the imperfections of the native gum, its 
use, in various ways, even before any of the improvements 
treated of in this work were made, had become almost indispen- 
sable to man. For erasing pencil marks, it was invaluable, and 
it had no substitute. The bottles, shoes, and toys made of it by 
the Indians of Para, were exceedingly useful. As a raw material 
for elastic threads, used in the manufacture of suspenders or 
braces, in Europe, and for the Macintosh cloths, it was highly 
valued, and extensively used. 

The consumption of the native gum for such uses has become 
so general, that it will necessarily be a long time before it is 
entirely superseded by the substitution of the recent improve- 
ments, however much they may excel. 

The use of the native gum-elastic, in varnishes, can never be 
interfered with, by these improvements, because the metallizing 
or vulcanizing process is not applicable to the substance in a 


liquid state. The inquiry is often made, if gum-elastic, treated 
by these processes, will not make excellent paint, &c. The 
difficulties in the way of this are as follows : The process 
of baking in an oven or steam heater, with a heat of about 
270° Fahrenheit, is indispensable for the improvement ; and 
further, the great quantity of turpentine required to bring it into 
a state liquid enough to spread with a brush, would make it too 
expensive, for use, as a common paint. Another difficulty is that 
when dissolved, it ferments and spoils, when mixed with white 
lead, chromes, &c., to give the colors, unless it is baked, within a 
short time after being mixed. I make these remarks, that those 
who come after me, may know the difficulties they will meet, in 
experimenting with the substance for paints. 

Reflection or philosophy would teach us that a substance, 
which is formed for the sustenance and growth of the tree, and 
is carried up by the warmth of the sun, would also be influ- 
enced by the sun and weather, when taken from the tree, and 
would not be substantial enough for man's use, without first 
being subjected to some great change. In the first attempt to 
manufacture this substance, this condition of the native gum 
seemed either not to be known, or to be lost sight of, as it was 
supposed by myself, as well as others, that to make the manu- 
facture complete, it would only be necessary to restore to the 
gum its native qualities. It was at length found, that although 
the objections were much increased, and the gum made much 
more perishable by the re-manufacture, yet as soon as the nature 
of the article was well understood, these were found to be inhe- 
rent defects in the gum in its native and best state. The mis- 
take of attributing the failure of the first attempts to re-manu- 
facture the gum in the United States, wholly to the dissolving 
of it, would naturally arise from the fact that before the manu- 
facture was established, it had only come under our observation, 
in thick masses, such as heavy shoes, slabs, bottles, &c. In this 
state the apparent solidity and strength of the gum is of the 
most substantial character, and its defects, except that of rigid- 
ity, are not apparent; but upon being spread out into thin layers, 



or the surface of a mass being made fresh, by cutting, the prop- 
erties of adhesiveness and solubihty are fully demonstrated. 
The French and English, in their first experiments, seeipfied to 
understand, better than the Americans, the true nature of the 
gum ; they proceeded, at least, with more caution, and confined 
themselves to the safe and successful applications to which it 
was adapted at that time, as will appear in the chapter upon 
•' Foreign Manufacture." 

The following extracts from scientific works may be interest- 
ins to the reader : 

From the Penny Cyclopedia, 1836. 

Caoutchouc. " This remarkable substance is produced by 
many different plants. That which comes from the tropical 
parts of South America is obtained from Siphonia (or Hevea) 
elastica ; and most other euphorbiaceous plants furnish it more 
or less abundantly. Various Urticaceae yield it, especially Ficus 
elastica, and the rest of the genera of the Artocarpeus sections ; 
Cecropia pellata has even been asserted to furnish a large pro- 
portion of the American caoutchouc, but this is doubted by 
Humboldt, because its juice is difficult to inspissate. In Papautla 
it is yielded by a plant called Ule, which the Berlin botanists 
call Castilloa elastica. Several Apocynaceous plants secrete 
this matter, as Urceola elastica, in Sumatra; a species of Na- 
hea in Madagascar ; and Willughbeia edulis, in India, but the 
latter is of a bad quality. Among Asclepiadaceous plants, Cy- 
nanchum ovalifolium is asserted, by Wallich to afford excellent 
caoutchouc at Penang." 

" In South America the natives have long made water-proof 
boots of caoutchouc, and by imbruing cloth with the milky juice 
of the hevea have rendered it impervious to moisture." 



From the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, 1832. 

Caoutchouc : "This substance appears to have been introduced 
into Europe about the beginning of the eighteenth century, but 
nothing was known of tiie mode of its production until the year 
1736, when M. de la Condamine presented a paper to the French 
academy, describing the tree from which it is obtained, and the 
mode of preparation." 

" More recent observations have now determined that caout- 
chouc is obtained from two South American plants, the Hgevia 
caoutchouc and the Jatropha elastica." 

"Its specific gravity is 0.9335. 

" Mr. Gough observed that if slips be plunged into cold water 
at the time they are considerably extended, they lose their con- 
tractile power, but if plunged again into warm water, or if kept 
warm some time in the hand, they become again elastic." 

" Caoutchouc is used for various purposes, — balls, bottles, 
boots, torches." In Europe it is commonly used to take out the 
marks of black lead pencils, for syringes, bougies and catheters, 
elastic tubes and varnish. 

From Bees' Cyclopedia, about 1810. 

" In the Asiatic researches is an account by Mr. Howison, 
surgeon of Palo Penang, of a substance exhibiting all the prop- 
erties of caoutchouc, procured from the juice of a climbing plant, 
the Urceolo elastica, a native of that small island and the neigh- 
boring coast of Sumatra. If one of the thicker and older 
stems of this plant is cut into, a white juice oozes out, of the 
consistence of cream, and slightly pungent to the taste. By 
exposure a short time to the action of the air, or still more expe- 
ditiously by the addition of a few drops of acid, a decomposition 
takes place, the homogeneous, thick, cream-like juice separates 


into a thin whitish liquor resembling whey, and the caoutchouc 
concretes into a clot or curd. 

" Cloth of all kinds, (says Mr. Howison,) may be made im- 
penetrable to water by impregnating it with the fresh juice of 
the Urceolo. Boots, gloves, &c., made of this impervious cloth, 
are preferable even to those formed of pure caoutchouc, as they 
are more durable and retain their shape better. If a sufficient 
quantity of this juice could be obtained, it might no doubt be 
applied to a vast variety of important purposes." 

An American gentleman who has taken much pains to obtain 
authentic information on this subject, remarks as follows : 

" The first mention of India rubber as applicable to the arts, 
was by Dr. Priestley, in his Introduction to the Theory of Per- 
spective, published in 1770, in which he speaks of it as a sub- 
stance just introduced, and adapted to removing the marks of 
lead pencils from paper. He commends its use, and the vender 
of it, Mr. Nairre, instrument-maker, opposite the Royal Ex- 
change, who sold cubical pieces of half an inch in size for three 
shillings sterling." 

It is believed the article was first brought to Europe in 1730, 
by some French mathematicians, who had been making some 
astronomical observations in South America. 

It is a very curious reflection, that the articles which have 
most affected the commerce and financial resources and con- 
dition of the nations of Europe, have been chiefly derived from 
the New World. We allude to the potato, to tobacco, the 
precious metals, and cotton, and another article has sprung into 
use which bids fair to be as important, Caoutchouc." 


Its properties. Sketch of the history of its introduction into use in the civilized world. 

When the chief discovery treated of in this volume was 
made, namely, the art of curing or treating caoutchouc by 
means of sulphur and a high degree of artificial heat, very few 
varieties of caoutchouc had been brought into the United 
States, and the author was unacquainted with the names, and 
even with the existence, of certain varieties which are at this 
time articles of common importation and use. 

The number of gums which from their general properties 
may be called varieties of caoutchouc is considerable — and it 
is probable that from time to time new varieties will be discov- 
ered and brought into use. In foreign publications we meet 
with names of gums possessing similar properties which have 
not yet been seen in the United States ; they are chiefly, if not 
universally, of Eastern origin — and appear to be found in 
nearly the same latitudes and geographical situations. Some 
of the names of the Eastern gums which may be termed varie- 
ties of caoutchouc are Gutta Percha ; Gutta taban or tuban ; 
Gutta girek or gegrek ; Jintavvan ; Jelotong ; Getah matah 
buay ; Litchu. The author has not been able to piT)Cure 
specimens of most of these gums — but supposes from the 
descriptions of them occasionally met with that they are 
varieties of Eastern caoutchouc. 

Gutta Percha is well known and is beginnino; to be some- 
what used in the United States. Among its advantages as a 
material for manufacture are properties which it possesses in 
common with South American and other varieties of caout- 
chouc, namely, its plasticity and adhesiveness at certain tem- 
peratures — and its hardness at certain other temperatures. Its 
plasticity when warmed to a temperature of about 145^ Fah- 
renheit renders it exceedingly easy of manufacture. It retains 


its shape and is sufficiently hard for use at all temperatures 
below about 90° Fahrenheit. In its liability to stiffen in cold, 
Gutta Percha resembles South American caoutchouc. Gutta 
Percha also resembles South American caoutchouc in its resist- 
ance to injury by friction and percussion. It becomes elastic 
at certain temperatures. Its chemical composition is the same 
as that of South American caoutchouc, namely, 87 parts car- 
bon and 13 hydrogen. It possesses similar powers of chemical 
combination with the South American gum. It is susceptible 
of the change called vulcanization by being suitably prepared 
and being exposed with sulphur to a high degree of artificial 
heat; and in some forms of vulcanization, and in some com- 
binations, particularly in that called the hard compound, it may 
be worked with equal advantage with South American caout- 
chouc. It is' to be remembered that we receive the South 
American gum after its having been once manufactured by the 
Indians — while we receive Gutta Percha not in a manufactured 
state, though it is frequently and generally, if not always, mixed 
with inferior gums or substances at the place of production, for 
the purpose of adulteration and greater profit. It is probable 
that the South American caoutchouc and Gutta Percha, when 
both perfectly pure and unmanufactured, and of the same age, 
resemble each other much more closely in their properties and 
powers than we are at present able to state with certainty. 

Comparison of Gutta Percha and India Rubber, by Charles 
C. Page, Professor of Chemistry, National Medical College, 
Washington, D. C. From " Silliman's American Journal," vol. 
4, second series, page 341. 

Professor Page says : — " It is somewhat remarkable that the 
interesting substance, Gutta Percha, appears very much like the 
India rubber when rendered inelastic by exposure to cold. 
This valuable modification of caoutchouc (Gutta Percha) gives, 
according to Dr. Maclagan, by ultimate analysis, carbon 86t^/o, 
hydrogen 12tVo ; and caoutchouc, according to Faraday, gives 
carbon 87tIt, and hydrogen I2Tfo-. The Gutta Percha yields 



by destructive distillation similar products to caoutchouc ; like 
caoutchouc it is soluble in coal naptha, in caoutchoucine, and 
in ether, and insoluble in water and alcohol." Then follows a 
quotation from Dr. Maclagan's communication to the Scottish 
Society of Arts : — " When placed in water at 110°, no effect 
is produced upon it, except that it receives the impression of 
the nail more readily, but when the temperature is raised to 
145°, or upwards, it gradually becomes so soft and pliant as to 
be capable of being moulded into any form, or of being rolled 
out into long pieces or flat plates. When in the soft state it 
possesses all the elasticity of common India rubber, but it does 
not retain this property long. It soon begins again to grow 
hard, and in a short time, varying according to the temperature 
and the size of the piece operated upon, regains its original 
hardness and rigidity." 
Auorust 31, 1847. 

As Gutta Percha appears to be destined to become useful, as 
a variety of caoutchouc, in its vulcanized state, particularly in 
the form of hard compounds, the reader will perhaps find the 
following extracts from the "American Journal of Arts and 
Sciences," commonly called " Siiliman's Journal," interesting, 
as giving a sketch of the history of the introduction of Gutta 
Percha into the manufactures and uses of the civilized world. 

The first mention of Gutta Percha in Siiliman's Journal, is in 
vol. 5, second series, page 289, (1847,) being an extract from 
the Lond. Jour. Bot., No. 61, Jan., 1847, p. 33. 

This article attributes the discovery of the valuable prop- 
erties of the substance to Mr. Thomas Lobb, when in Sintra- 
pore, &:c., &c. 

Plant called Sapotaceous and Bassia is given as the name. 

It states that Dr. Montgomerie first brought Gutta Percha 
into public notice. " He writes thus in the Magazine of 
Science, 1845, &c., &c. ; — so long ago as 1822, when I was at 



Singapore, I was told of Gutta Percha in connection with caout- 
chouc." " Thd'e are three varieties of this substance : 

Gutta Girek, 

Gutta Tuban, and 

Gutta Percha. 
Dr. Montgomerie gives the localities where it is found. 

The second notice of Gutta Percha in Silliman's Journal, is 
in vol. 5, second series, page 291, from which the following are 
extracts : — 

"Gutta Percha. E. Soubeiran. (Jour, de Pharm. et de 
Chim., Jan., 1847.) The chemical relations of Gutta Percha 
are almost identical with those of caoutchouc. Separated 
from impurities by hot water, and from the accompanying 
resins by alcohol and ether, the substance was obtained in a 
state of purity by Soubeiran. Submitted to analysis, it gave 
carbon 87t^o, hydrogen 12to, while, according to Faraday, 
caoutchouc gave carbon 87to, hydrogen 12to. 

" The action of solvents is also similar with the two sub- 
stances. Water and alcohol have no effect ; ether and most 
volatile oils produce only imperfect solution. The true solvent 
is oil of turpentine, which produces a clear and colorless solu- 
tion, from which the Gutta Percha may be obtained unchanged 
by evaporation." 

The specific gravity of Gutta Percha is 0.9791 — that of 
caoutchouc being 0.9355. 

The third notice of Gutta Percha in Silliman's Journal, is 
in vol. 5, p. 433 ; concerning its applicability to modeling. 
Mr. Brooke, of Borneo, stated that an unlimited supply might 
be obtained from that country. 

The fourth notice of Gutta Percha in Silliman's Journal, is 
in vol. 5, page 438, (1848,) being extracts from remarks upon 
the substance, by Thomas Oxley, Senior Surgeon of the Settle- 


ment of Prince of Wales Island, Singapore, and Malacca. 
(Jour. Ind. Archip., Singapore, No. 1, 1847, p. 22.) 

This article gives a minute botanical description of the tree, 
and of the mode of collecting the gum by the natives. 

It gives a description of the properties of the gum, and con- 
siders its plasticity, when submitted to the action of boiling 
water at 150° Fahrenheit, to be its great peculiarity and most 
useful quality. 

Gives the origin of its use as lohips by the Malays. 

Recommends it for surgical uses. 

The fifth notice of Gutta Percha in Silliman's Journal, is 
in vol. 6, second series, p. 135, (1848.) 

It says : — " The tree affording the Gutta Percha has been 
referred to the new gums Isonandra of Wight. Dr. Wight 
described two species, to which M. A. De Candolle has added 
two others, referred hitherto to Sideroxylon (iron wood.) W. J. 
Hooker calls the species affording the Gutta Percha, Isonandra 

The sixth notice of Gutta Percha in Silliman's Journal, is in 
vol. 6, second series, p. 246, (1848,) and is an article on Gutta 
Percha, particularly its chemical properties, by Edward N. 

Gutta Percha is stated to be " soluble in pure chloroform, 
bi-sulphuret of carbon, rectified oils of turpentine, resin, gutta 
percha and tar, also in terebene, hydro-chlorate of terebene, 
and slightly in pure ether. Of these solvents the first two are 
the best." 

The seventh notice of Gutta Percha in Silliman's Journal, is 
in vol. 7, second series, page 203, (1849.) 

This article gives a very detailed statistical account of the 
collection of Gutta Percha in India and the islands. 

It states that in some regions the substance is becoming 
scarce, and that the chief supplies must now come from Suma- 


tra, the northern countries of the peninsula, and, above all, 

The total exports from Singapore are stated to have been : — 
1844 .... 1.68 piculs. 






21,598, valued at 8274,190. 

The whole of this has been sent to Great Britain, with the 
exception of 15 piculs to Mauritius, 470tfo to the Continent of 
Europe, and 922 to the United States. 

About 270,000 taban trees have probably been felled during 
the three years and a half the trade has existed. 

The price of taban in Singapore gradually rose from eight 
to twenty-four dollars per picul, but it is now about thirteen 

The Jour. Ind. Archipelago says : " In our next, we shall 
give some more exact details, and notice the mixtures of gutta 
percha, jelotong, gegrek, litchu, and other inferior guttas, the 
products of different trees, which are sometimes used to adul- 
terate the taban." 


An artificial substance may be made of a mixture of Para 
gum-elastic and gum-shellac, which resembles that variety of 
caoutchouc called gutta percha so nearly, that it is very difficult 
to distinguish between the two, either as relates to texture or 


Whether any advantage will arise from the production of 
gutta percha in this way, either as to cost or quality, it is im- 
possible to say. From some experiments that have been made, 
it appears, however, to possess more durable properties than the 
genuine or native gutta percha. 


It is a curious fact, that some of the non-elastic gums, when- 
combined and vulcanized, will form an artificial elastic gum fully 
equal in some respects, and superior in others, to Para India 
rubber, and nearly as elastic as it is. 

The ingredients of which this substance is composed, are 
chiefly gutta percha and gum-shellac, in combination with 
other substances, submitted to the action of sulphur in the 
vulcanizing process. Its properties, compared with the native 
gum when vulcanized, are as follows : It is little less elastic, 
and appears to resist the sun and weather even better than vul- 
canized India rubber. It is peculiarly free from offensive odor, 
and at the present prices of gum-elastic, the artificial article is 
considerably the cheapest. It is not yet introduced, and, in 
fact, is as yet hardly known to gum-elastic manufacturers ; but 
from present appearances it is altogether probable that this 
material will be found to answer, when spread upon tissues, even 
better than Para gum-elastic. 




Gum laCj or shellac. Pine and other fir-tree gums. Bitumen of various kinds — asphaltum, 

coaltar, &c. 

It is not the intention of the author at present, to enter into a 
detailed history of the numerous gums and resins which, from 
their connection with these improvements, it is obvious might 
very properly be treated of in connection with the history of 
gum-elastic. It would be desirable, and it is the author's inten- 
tion, at a future time, to give a more particular account of them, 
as well as minute recipes for the different proportions and mix- 
tures, by which they are made to answer their distinct uses in 
perfecting the vulcanized compounds and fabrics of gum-elastic. 

The term inferior is used chiefly for the sake of distinction. 
They are not, strictly speaking, inferior, except in the property 
of elasticity. Those of them that are known in commerce, have 
each their separate uses, the importance of which is well known 
in manufactures and the arts ; they may, however, be styled in- 
ferior as relates to the inventions treated of in this work, for the 
reason that although the perfection of many of the fabrics and 
compounds depends upon some one or more of these gums, yet 
none of them separately will fill the place or answer the uses 
peculiar to gum-elastic, for the want of its elastic property, 
while India rubber will answer these uses when vulcanized, in- 
dependent of other gums or resins, although, in some cases, it 
answers a better purpose in combination with than without 


r^^ — — — ■ — S^«S\i9 



This gum, is now rapidly assuming that degree of importance 
in relation to the perfection of the Inventions treated of in this 
work, that it is deemed worthy of particular notice, in connec- 
tion with the history of India rubber. 

The following account of it is taken from the "United States 

" It is a resinous substance obtained from several trees grow- 
ing in the East Indies, particularly from the Croton lacciferurn, and 
two species of Ficus, the F. religiosa and F. Indica. It is found 
in the form of a crust surrounding the twigs or extreme branches, 
and is generally supposed to be an exudation from the bark, 
owing to the puncture of an insect belonging to the genus Coc- 
cus, and denominated C. Lacca. By some it is thought to be 
an exudation from the bodies of the insects themselves, which 
collect in great numbers upon the twigs, and are imbedded in the 
concreted juice, through which the young insects eat a passage 
and escape. Several varieties are known in commerce. The 
most common are stick lac, seed lac, and shell lac. 

" Stick lac is the resin as taken from the tree, still incrusting 
the small twigs around which it originally concreted. It is of a 
deep reddish brown color, of a shining fracture, translucent at 
the edges, inodorous, and of an astringent, slightly bitterish 
taste. Its external surface is perforated with numerous minute 
pores, as if made by a needle ; and when broken it exhibits 
many oblong cells, often containing the dead insect. When 
chewed, it colors the saliva beautifully red ; and when burnt, 
diffuses a strong agreeable odor. It is in great measure soluble 
in alcohol. 

"Seed lac consists of minute irregular fragments broken from 
the twigs, and partially exhausted by water. It is of a light or 
dark brown color, inclining to red or yellow, feebly shining, 
almost tasteless, and capable of imparting to water less color 


than the stick lac, sometimes scarcely coloring it at all. It is 
occasionally mixed with small fragments of the twigs. 

"Shell lac is prepared by melting the stick or seed lac previously 
deprived of its soluble coloring matter, straining it, and pouring 
it upon a flat smooth surface to harden. It is in thin fragment.; 
of various sizes, from half a line to a line thick, often somewhat 
curved, of a lighter or darker brown color, inclining more oi 
less to red or yellow, shining, more or less transparent, hard and 
brittle, inodorous and insipid ; insoluble in water, but easily and 
almost entirely soluble in alcohol, especially with the aid of 

"A variety of lac is mentioned by writers in the form of cakes, 
called cake or lump lac (lacca in placentis,) but this is at present 
rare in commerce. 

" According to John, lac consists of resin, coloring matter, a 
peculiar principle insoluble in alcohol, ether, or water, called 
laccin, a little wax, and various saline matters in small propor- 
tion. The resin, according to Unverderben, consists of several 
distinct resinous principles, differing in their solubility in alcohol 
and ether. The laccin is nearly or quite wanting in the shell 
lac, which also contains scarcely any of the coloring principle. 
Mr. Flachet found in stick lac 68 per cent, of resin, and 10 of 
coloring matter; in seed lac 88.5 per cent, of resin and 2.5 of 
coloring matter ; in shell lac 90.9 per cent, of resin and 0.5 of 
coloring matter. The other constituents, according to this 
chemist, are wax and gluten, besides foreign matters. 

"Lac, in its crude state, is slightly astringent, and was formerly 
used in medicine. At present it is not employed. Shell lac is 
wholly inert. Stick lac and seed lac are used on account ot 
the coloring principle which they contain. Shell lac, as well 
as the other varieties, deprived of their coloring matter, is ap- 
plied to numerous purposes in the arts. It is the chief constitu- 
ent of sealing-wax. The best red sealing-wax is made by melting 
together, with a very gentle heat, 48 parts of shell lac, 19 oi 
Venice turpentine, and one of balsam of Peru, and mixing with 
the melted mass 32 parts of finely powdered cinnabar. But 


common resin is often substituted in part for the lac, and a mix- 
ture of red lead and chalk for the cinnabar, The best black 
sealing-wax consists of 60 parts of lac, 10 of turpentine, and 30 
of levigated bone black ; the best yellow sealing-sax of 60 parts 
of lac, 12 of turpentine, and 24 of chromate of lead, (Berzelius.) 
Lao is also used as a varnish, and forms an excellent cement for 
broken porcelain and earthenware." 

The following is an interesting account of this material, taken 
from Ure's Dictionary. 

"Stick lac is produced by the puncture of a peculiar female 
insect, called coccus lacca or ficus, upon the branches of several 
plants, as thej^ci^^ religiosa, the, ficus indica, the rhaninus jujuha, 
the croton lacciferum, and buteaf rondos a, which grow in Siam, 
Assam, Pegra, Bengal, and Malabar. The twig becomes thereby 
incrusted with a reddish mammelated resin, having a crystaline- 
looking fracture. 

"The female lac insect is of the size of a louse; red, round, 
flat, with 12 abdominal circles, a bifurcated tail, antennae, and 
six claws, half the length of the body. The male is twice the 
above size, and has four wings ; there is one of them to 5000 
females. In November or December the young brood makes its 
escape from the eggs, lying beneath the dead body of the 
mother ; they crawl about a little way, and fasten themselves to 
the bark of the shrubs. About this time the branches swarm to 
such a degree with this vermin, that they seem covered with a 
red dust ; in this case they are apt to dry up, by being exhausted 
of their juices. Many of these insects, however, become the 
prey of others, or are carried off by the feet of birds to which 
they attach themselves, and are transplanted to other trees. 
They soon produce small nipple-like incrustations upon the 
twigs, their bodies being apparently glued, by means of transpa- 
rent liquor, which goes on to the end of March, so as to form a 
cellular texture. At this time the animal resembles a small oval 
bag without life, of the size of a cochineal. At the commence- 
ment, a beautiful red liquor only is perceived, afterwards eggs 


make their appearance, and in October or November, when the 
red liquor gets exhausted, 20 or 30 young ones bore a hole 
through the back of their mother, and come forth. The empty 
cells remain upon the branches. These are composed of the 
milky juice of the plant, which serves as nourishment to the 
insects, and which is afterwai'ds transformed or elaborated into 
the red coloring matter which is found mixed with the resin, but 
in greater quantities in the bodies of the insects, in their eggs, 
and still more copiously in the red liquor secreted for feeding 
the young. After the brood escapes, the cells contain much 
less coloring matter. On this account the branches should be 
broken off before this happens, and dried in the sun. In the 
East Indies this operation is performed twice in the year ; the 
first time in March, the second in October. The twigs incrusted 
with the radiated cellular substance, constitute the stick lac of 
commerce. It is of a red color, more or less deep, nearly trans- 
parent, and hard, with a brilliant conchoidal fracture. The 
stick lac of Siam is the best ; a piece of it, presented to me by 
Mr. Rennie, of Fenchurch street, having an incrustation fully 
one quarter of an inch thick all round the twig. The stick lac 
of Assam ranks next ; and last, that of Bengal, in which the 
resinous coat is scanty, thin, and irregular. According to the 
analysis of Dr. John, stick lac consists of 

An odorous common resin 80.00 

A resin insoluble in ether ....... 20.00 

Coloring matter, analogous to that of cochineal . . 4.50 

Bitter balsamic matter .' . . . . . . 3.00 

Dun yellow extract . 0.50 

Acid of the stick lac (laccic acid) 0.75 

Fatty matter, like wax 3.00 

Skin of the insects and coloring matter .... 2.50 

Salts . 1.25 

Earths 0.75 

Loss 4.75 



" According to Franke, the constituents of stick lac are, resin, 
65.7; substance of the lac, 28.3; coloring matter, 0.6. 

" Seed lac. When the resinous concretion is taken off the 
twigs, coarsely pounded and triturated with water in a mortar, 
the greater part of the coloring matter is dissolved, and the 
granular portion which remains, being dried in the sun, consti- 
tutes seed lac. It contains, of course, less coloring matter than 
the stick lac, and is much less soluble. John found in 100 parts 
of it, resin, 66.7; wax, 1.7 ; matter of the lac, 16.7; bitter bal- 
samic matter, 2.5 ; coloring matter, 3.9 ; dun yellow extract, 
0.4; envelopes of insects, 2.1 ; laccic acid, 0.0; salts of potash 
and lime, 1.0; earths, 6.6 ; loss, 4.2. 

" In India, the seed lac is put into oblong bags of cotton cloth, 
which are held over a charcoal fire by a man at each end, and 
as soon as it begins to melt, the bag is twisted so as to strain the 
liquified resin through its substance, and to make it drop upon 
some smooth stems of the banyan tree, (Musa paridisa.) In this 
way the resin spreads into thin plates, and constitutes the sub- 
stance know^i in commerce by the name of shellac. 

" The Pegu stick lac, being very dark colored, furnishes a 
shellac of a corresponding deep hue, and, therefore, of inferior 
value. The palest and finest shellac is brought from the 
Northern Circas. It contains very little coloring matter. A 
stick lac of an intermediate quality is brought from the Mysore 
country, which yields a brilliant lac-dye and a good shellac. 

It is but recently that gum-shellac has been used in the man- 
ufacture of the vulcanized compounds. Thus far it appears to 
be indispensable in one of the hard compounds, and in many 
of the fabrics, it is preferable to all other inferior gums and 
resins, on account of the more agreeable odor of the fabrics. 
In these it is mixed in about the proportion of one part shellac 
to three parts caoutchouc. 






The abundance and commonness of these substances in 
northern climates render it quite unnecessary to treat of their 
production and native qualities. The importance of their use, 
particularly that of pitch and resin, in combination with caout- 
chouc, when submitted to the process of vulcanization, is only 
now beginning to be known. 

They have, together with coal-tar, asphaltum, &c., in some 
cases been used in small quantities by both American and 
English manufacturers of gum-elastic. The sudden temporary 
advance of caoutchouc to a very high price, in 1851, has in- 
duced the writer, as well as the manufacturers of caoutchouc, 
to attempt their use with that of coal-tar in larger quantity ; 
and it has been found that some of them, if not all, when prop- 
erly treated, may be used with great advantage in some of the 
vulcanized compounds in equal proportions with caoutchouc. 

COAL-TAR, &c. 

Considering the vegetable origin of these substances, it would 
be reasonable to suppose they would be found to combine read- 
ily with caoutchouc, and also be susceptible of vulcanization 
when combined with it. This has proved to be the fact with 
regard to them. They are also found valuable, not only on 
account of their abundance and cheapness, but also because 
they serve to give a polish or lustre to the articles when it is 
desired, and likewise to prevent the effervescence of an excess 
of sulphur in the fabrics. 


They are cheaper substances than any of the vegetable gums, 
as they are now obtained. 

Some of them, particularly coal-tar, was used at an early day 
to a limited extent in the manufacture of caoutchouc. The 
same causes which operated to bring about the more extensive 
use of the resinous gums in this manufacture, have also led to 
the use of bitumen and coal-tar in greater quantities in the 
vulcanized compounds. The chief objection to their use is, 
that they impart their peculiar odor to the fabrics ; but in some 
of them which are used in the open air, where this odor is less 
objectionable, bitumen or coal-tar may be used in equal propor- 
tions with caoutchouc or India rubber. 



Condamine's paper to the French Academy on gum-elastic. First importation of shoes into the 
United States. Para the principal place of export. Method of gathering the gum by the 
Indians, and their manufacture of shoes and toys. European manufacture. Of Mcintosh. Of 
the French. American manufacture. The Roxbury Company. 

" GuM-ELASTic was first introduced into Europe and the 
civilized wOrld from South America, about the close of the 
seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century. 

It is certain that veiy little attention was paid to the new 
material until the year 1736, when, as we are informed, M. de 
la Condamine, a French Academician at Cayenne, presented a 
paper to the French Academy, describing the tree from which 
it is obtained, and the mode of preparation practiced by the 
natives of South America. 

Very little vv^as heard of it until 1790, when some pieces of it 
were brought to England from India. It was then found to pos- 
sess one of its peculiar properties, adhesiveness, which renders it 
valuable, for erasing pencil marks ; for this and its wonderful 
elastic property, there has n^ver been found any substitute. 

The use of the article for other purposes, was first learned from 
the Omagua tribe of Brazilian Indians, who cured it in their 
peculiar manner, as described under the head of ' Indian Manu- 
factures.' By these Indians it was brought to the notice of the 
first Portuguese settlers in Para, and by them the traffic in it 
was commenced with Europeans and Americans. 

The first pair of sho^s imported was brought into the United 
States in 1820. They were gilded, and had long pointed toes, 
like those of the Mandarin of China. They were said to be 

J .^7!2S3 — 5^^'=^ 

r 1 


from India, but as no shoes have been brought from that country 
since, the origin of this pair is doubtful. In 1823, a lot of five 
hundred pairs was brought into Boston, and sold at high prices, 
they were soon after imported in large quantities. From that 
year may be dated the commerce in this article, which has since 
grown to such extent. The India rubber bottles were imported 
into Europe and the United States in small quantities, many 
years before, and were commonly cut up and used for the pur- 
pose of erasing pencil marks." 


" The city of ' Santa Maria de Belem do Grand Para,' is 
situated on the southern branch of the river Amazon, called the 
Tocantins, one hundred miles from its mouth, and lies in 1^ de- 
grees S. latitude. Para is the capital of the truly magnificent 
province of the same name, which forms the northern boundary 
of Brazil ; the city contains twenty thousand inhabitants, and 
being the only port of entry on the Amazon, is a place of con- 
siderable commercial importance, receiving, as it does, all the 
produce of that immense river, on which are situated a great 
number of important trading villages. 

There are several American, English, and French houses 
established here, but the principal part of business is carried on 
by Portuguese merchants." 

We are not informed by what steps the natives advanced to 
the degree of perfection attained by them in the manufacture of 
this singular substance. That the natives should have invented 
their various processes of gathering, moulding, and smoking 
the native gum, is certainly creditable to their ingenuity. It 
is only recently that civilized men have been able, by the aid 
of chemical combinations, to improve upon the qualities of the 
substance which the Indians imparted to it by their mode of 


The plate 1 represents an Indian camp in the vicinity of 
Para, where the gum is manufactured, from which place most 
of the gum has heretofore been exported to the United States. 

No. 1, in the cut, . Indian tapping the tree. 

"2 " . Attaching the clay pipes. 

"3 " . Pouring tiie gum upon lasts or clay forms. 

"4 " . Smokincn tlie shoes or bottles. 

The two words, Indian-rubber and India-rubber, are indiffer- 
ently applied to caoutchouc or gum-elastic : both of these terms 
are alike correct ; and the first, as relates to the Indian of Brazil 
and his manufacture ; the latter, as applied to the article coming 
also from India. 

The articles of native gum heretofore imported from Para, as 
shoes, bottles, and toys, have always been exclusively made by 
these Indians. In this manufacture, the ingenuity of the savage 
may excite our admiration, especially if we take for granted, as 
in the absence of other information to the contrary we are 
authorized to do, that he is the inventor of the moulding and 
smoking process. This art is practiced by the natives, a tribe 
of Omagua, and is unknown in any other part of the globe. 
The shoes of their manufacture have been imported into the 
United States since 1820, and the bottles since 1800. These 
w^ere first cut in pieces, and used for rubbing out pencil marks, 
and it is from this apparently trivial application that the sub- 
stance took the name of rubber. The average export of Para 
shoes to the United States since 1820, has amounted to about 
five hundred thousand pairs per annum ; and the export of India 
rubber from Para in the form of shoes, will no doubt continue 
for a long time to come. For it always happens that when 
articles of great utility once obtain in the market, a long time 
must elapse before their consumption ceases, however great the 
subsequent improvements in these articles, or their substitutes 
may be. 

The Indian manufacture of the gum is conducted on a small 


scale by individuals in the neighborhood of the city of Para, 
and is carried on more extensively at a greater distance, within 
a circuit of about fifty miles. 

The gum is obtained from the tree on the slightest incision, at 
all seasons of the year ; but it flows most freely, and the gum is 
most easily collected, during the dry season ; very little, com- 
paratively, is collected during the rainy months. The business 
is most attended to during the months of May, June, July, and 
August. The gum gathered at this time is considered the best. 
Camps or orchards are selected where the trees are most abun- 
dant, which is commonly in swampy or low grounds. 

" The method of collecting and manufacturing the gum, is as 
follows : The trees are tapped early in the morning, by a blow 
of a hatchet, about an inch in width, and a clay cup, resembling 
the mud swallow's nest, made by the hands of the workmen, is 
attached to the tree immediately under the incision. One person, 
with his hatchet, takes his beat, of a mile, perhaps, in extent, taps 
his seventy or eighty trees, which are as many as an active fel- 
low can attend to, commencing at five and finishing at seven 
o'clock in the morning. The sun, be it understood, always 
rising at six o'clock. Having now tapped his number of trees, 
and attached about six cups to each of them, he returns to his 
starting place, and with his calabash goes the same round, and 
collects the small table spoonful of milk, or sap, which he finds in 
each clay cup. As the man goes his circuit, he empties the sap 
into his calabash. The cups are fitted into each other, and 
covered with leaves at the foot of each tree to keep them moist, 
for the next tapping of the same tree in another place. In this 
manner he has obtained from one to two gallons, according to 
the season or other circumstances. The milk by this time has 
ceased to flow, and the incision through the bark already be- 
comes clogged. 

The milk, after being collected, is taken home, where imme- 
diate preparations are made for the smoking process, which must 
all be finished before two o'clock, otherwise the milk will coagu- 
late and be lost. This service of manufacturing the gum into 


shapes is usually performed by the man's wife or daughters, by 
pouring the sap upon clay forms or wooden lasts, which are held 
in the hand. It takes from twenty to twenty-five coats of the 
sap to form a shoe. Upon applying each successive coat of the 
gum in this way, the article is held over the small furnace re- 
presented by fig. in the plate, and s?noked for about half a 
minute. The smoke is produced from the burning of the wassou 
palm-nut, which is plentiful in that country ; it is about the size 
of the largest hickory nut, but resembles more the black walnut. 
It is stated, no doubt correctly, that no other smoke will produce 
the same effect upon the gum. The natural color of the 
native gum is yellowish white ; the dark brown color of the im- 
ported article is imparted by the smoke. The gum is consid- 
erably hardened by this process ; it is also rendered less adhesive, 
and is so far changed as to be much improved for the subsequent 
purposes of re-manufacturing, as formerly conducted in the 
United States and in Europe. This effect is not needed for the 
manufacture by my process. 

The shoes and toys, when sufficiently dried in this manner, 
are often ornamented in a rude way, by impressions made by 
the point of a knife or a wooden stamp, about twenty-four hours 
after the articles are finished."* 

After four or five days, the clay is washed out of the article 
formed, or where lasts are used they are removed from the 
shoes ; which are next tied together in pairs, and hung on poles. 
In this manner they are conveyed to Para, where they are pur- 
chased by the merchants for exportation, and stuffed with hay 
or grass for the purpose of keeping them in form. It is some 
months before the shoes become hard enough for service ; but 
they are gradually hardened by age. The shape of the shoes has 
commonly been improved by lasting and trimming, after their 
importation into the United States. The firm of Messrs. Smith 
& Son, the first dealers in these shoes in New York, obtained a 
high reputation for their shoes, by taking advantage of the above 
circumstance, and keeping their stock on hand until well 

* Charles Smith, Esq. 


seasoned. Much less care is taken by the natives in preparing 
the bottles, which are made for the supply of the foreign re- 
manufacture ; this is productive of much mischief, as is fully 
stated under the head of " Method of gathering the gum." 

The trees are not tapped oftener than every other day, and 
when suffered to remain undisturbed for several days, the yield 
is proportionally greater. These trees continue to yield sap for 
upwards of twenty years ; and it is a well known fact, that the 
oldest and most frequently tapped trees produce the richest sap. 

Following is a more detailed description of the method pui'- 
sued by the Indians near Para in gathering the gum and manu- 
facturing shoes ; written by an individual who formerly resided 
in Para.* 

The India Rubber Tree — Mode of collecting the Gum, and of making 
and figuring India Rubber Shoes. 

In reply to your inquiries respecting the India rubber business 
at Para, I will endeavor to say something of what I lately saw 
there as to the mode of preparing the article for market. The 
" Seringa" tree, as it is called by the natives, (the India Rubber,) 
is common to the whole valley of the Amazon, but is most 
abundant on the island and low lands, which at times are in- 
undated in the rainy season. The trees are scattered promis- 
cuously through the forest, and reach a diameter of eighteen 
inches or more ; the bark is smooth, somewhat resembling the 
beech, but thicker. The leaf is an oblong oval, thick and 
glossy, the wood white and rather soft, being useless for build- 
ing, as it decays very soon. The milk is white and tasteless, 
and may be taken into the stomach with impunity, much re- 
semblinor the milk which exudes from the milk-weed of New 
England, and seems to reside in the bark, or between the bark 
and wood. The first work of the " Seringeros" (as the Indians 
who gather the article are called,) is to open foot-paths from 
tree to tree in the forest, so as to form a circuit sufficient for 
the operations of one man ; so that each man has his circuit 

* Mr. W. D. Gookin, Southport, Conn. 




diverging from the cabin. These paths constitute the chief 
value of a location, rather than the soil, and are sold or rented 
to the occupants at moderate prices. The Seringeros generally 
locate as near the town as possible, that their supplies and mar- 
ket may be at hand ; for they depend upon the rubber for 
subsistence. The hut, or cabin, is built upon some branch of 
the river, or on some of the numerous tide creeks which pene- 
trate the whole of this flat country near the river. The cabin 
is built on posts set in the ground, with the floor elevated from 
two to four feet, so as to be above the inundations and spring 
tides. It is thatched with some kind, of palm-leaf, and the rind 
of the same tree furnishes the boards for the floor. They live 
simply and cheaply ; for a basket of farina, a coarse quality of 
tapioca, made from the mandicoa root, and costing from 50 to 
150 cents, sustains a person some thirty-five days, and is eaten 
dry, or a little moistened, with the addition of a piece of dried 
fish roasted. This, with coffee, is the standing food of the coun- 
try people, Indians, and negroes, who are the collectors of rubber. 

The tree requires to be tapped every day, by making an inci- 
sion into the bark with a species of tomahawk, about an inch 
wide. Beneath each incision is attached a cup made of moist 
clay, about the size and form of the half of a goose egg, which 
keep their places by the adhesion of the clay. From six to ten 
cups are placed upon a tree, which yield from two to five table- 
spoonsful of milk each, per day. The trees are tapped from the 
root to as far up as can be reached even by a scaffold. Each 
incision makes a rough wound on the tree, which in time, 
though not dead, makes them useless, because a smooth place is 
required on which to attach the cups. 

The men start out at daylight to tap their trees, each taking 
a ball of kneaded clay in his hand for making any cups that 
may be wanted, and having made their circuit in three or four 
hours, return to the house for breakfast. Soon after noon, they 
make the round again, to collect the milk in gourds, slung in 
thongs of bark, and hung over the shoulder. The cups are de- 
tached from the tree to empty them, and remain covered up at 


the foot of each tree for the next clay's use. On reaching the 
house, the milk is manufactured at once into shoes, bottles, or 
sheets, as it soon hardens. This is often done by females. A 
fire is made of some nuts, common in the forest, over which is 
placed, inverted, an earthen pot with a hole in the bottom, 
whence issues a jet of hot smoke. The wooden last, after being 
smeared with clay to prevent adhesion, is dipped into the milk, 
which adheres to it like paint, and is hardened by one or two 
seconds' exposure to the hot smoke, then is plunged again suc- 
cessively into the milk until the required thickness is obtained. 
Extra coats are given to the heel and sole. About sixteen to 
eighteen dips form the shoe — say ten general coats and six 
extra for the bottoms and heels. Each last has a handle which 
is stuck into the ground for the shoe to dry. When finished, 
they are of a dingy white ; but by exposure to the sun and dew, 
in a few days turn brown and black, during which they are 
covered with drops of water exuding from the rubber. In two 
days the shoes are hard enough for figuring, which state lasts 
some three days. This is done simply by drawing lines on the 
soft surface with the rounded points of wire or needles, two or 
three of which are fixed in a handle, forming a species of style, 
with which figures are formed according to fancy. Stamps do 
not answer, perhaps owing to the irregularity of the surface of 
the last. In a week the shoes are taken from the last (which 
once were made of clay, but now wood is only used.) As soon 
as a few pairs are finished, they are taken to market and sold 
by the makers, under previous engagements, and perhaps for 
advances received, at from ten to fifteen cents per pair. One 
man collects milk for six to ten pairs per day. The dipping of 
a pair of shoes occupies about fifteen minutes, and the figuring, 
the same or less. 

The bottles are made by dipping a ball of clay formed around 
the end of a stick, which is removed when dry or by soaking in 
water ; these, with sheets and refused shoes, are consumed in 
the manufacture of metallic rubber, and are generally shipped 
in bags or bulk, while the shoes, after being stuffed with straw 


to preserve the form, are packed in boxes for shipment. The 
rubber and shoes pay a provincial duty of fifteen per cent., at 
which time both duties are exacted, unless the certificates of 
the payment of the city duty are produced. The rubber of 
Para is the best known, and thus far has only been collected 
near the coast ; but the " Seringa" abounds throughout the 
banks of the Amazon and its numerous branches, up to the foot 
of the Andes, as well as also the Orinoco, and other parts of 
South America : hence the supply will ever be inexhaustible. 
The collection is mainly confined to the dry season, from the 
effect of the rain on the crops. 


With the European manufacture the author is less acquainted 
than with the American. It is generally well known that the 
manufacture of gum-elastic in the civilized world was first 
commenced in Europe, and that of the India rubber cloths in 
particular, in England. The manufacture of the raw gum into 
threads, weaving it, &c., has been the subject of many patents 
and much litio-ation, both in Ensland and France ; notwith- 
standing which the manufacture has always been a successful 
one. In those countries, however, a very different class of 
articles was made, from those which were subsequently manu- 
factured in the United States. The manufactures of these 
countries consisted mostly of articles made from the raw mate- 
rial smoked by the Indians, such as woven suspenders made of 
braided cloth, &c., in which the gum, not being dissolved in 
their manufacture, and also being protected by a covering of 
thread by weaving or braiding, it was not so immediately liable 
to decomposition and loss of its elasticity, as it was in the case 
of the re-manufacture afterwards carried on in the United 
States, in other articles in which a solvent was used. 

The Macintosh goods, in which a solvent was used, were less 
liable to damage and decomposition, because the gum was pro- 
tected by being spread between two cloths. At that period, the 



Europeans had more experience, and understood the manufac- 
ture of gum-elastic better than the Americans, and did not, hke 
them, fail in their first attempts. 

In the year 1821, Charles Macintosh, Esq., established the 
manufacture of the well-known and long-celebrated Macintosh 
goods. For the information of those who may chance to be un- 
acquainted with these goods and the method of their manufacture, 
it may be said they consisted chiefly of wearing apparel, such as 
coats and capes, and what is generally termed air- work, such as 
beds, pillows, cushions, life-preservers, &c. The method of man- 
ufacture consisted in spreading a coat of dissolved gum between 
two cloths, which rendered them water-proof. The adoption of 
this method is itself proof of the perishable nature of the gum, 
and the imperfection of the goods previous to the introduction of 
the improvements treated of in this work. As the method, in fact, 
amounts to protecting the gum between two cloths, in order to 
make its water-proof qualities available, instead of protecting one 
cloth by either one or two coats of gum on the outside, as is done 
with the heated or vulcanized article ; and, although thus pro- 
tected in the Macintosh fabric, the gum is found to melt and 
penetrate through the meshes of the cloth in a warm climate, or 
when much worn by those who perspire freely. In the humid 
atmosphere of England, and in other cold countries, notwithstand- 
ing their imperfections, these goods have been found extremely 
useful ; and the inventor not only attained a high reputation, but 
was thereby enabled to accumulate a very handsome fortune. 

About the year , the manufacture of gum-elastic was 

commenced in France, which consisted almost wholly in pressing 
the Indian bottles into flat pieces, and afterwards cutting them 
by machinery into thread, which were wound or braided over 
with silk, and next woven into suspenders, or sold for guard- 
chains or other similar purposes. This thread was also used as 
a warp, and woven into suspenders without covering. The 
manufacture has been a successful and profitable one, and has 
been carried on to a very great extent to this time ; for although 
the elasticity of the article is lost by use, it continues long 


enough to give satisfaction to tiie wearer, in the absence of any- 
thing better. 

The well known house of Messrs. Rattier and Guibal, Paris, 
have been most extensively engaged in the manufacture, and 
have brought it to a high state of perfection, producing a variety 
of useful and beautiful articles. They have continued their 
manufacture to the present time, and are now interested as 
licensees in the recent improvements of the author. 


Various experiments were made in the United States with the 
solution of .gum-elastic, as early as 1824. It had long been 
known to chemists, that the essential oils were solvents of the 
gum, before attempts were made by manufacturers to manufac- 
ture it, or restore it to its native state, after having been dis- 
solved. The secret, as it was for a long time called, of dissolv- 
ing, became at length generally known as early as 1829. 

From this time, great numbers of persons turned their atten- 
tion to experimenting with it, and the subject became one of 
general interest. Mr. S. C. Smith, of Providence, Rhode Island, 
one of the first who commenced the manufacture, opened a store 
in 18 — , for the sale of India rubber goods, at the corner of 
Maiden lane and William street, N. York. In 18 — , this firm, sub- 
sequently S. C. Smith & Sons, removed to Chatham street, where 
they carried on a prosperous business in the manufacture of 
shoes, from the sheets of gum made by the Indians at Para, and 
in the sale of the Para shoes. The shoes of this house attained 
a high reputation, by their keeping a large stock on hand, and 
allowing them to become well seasoned before they were sold. 
Messrs. Smith & Son retired from the business with a hand- 
some fortune, shortly after the recent improvements were in- 

Among the first to manufacture India rubber, were Mr. John 


Haskins and Mr. Edwin M. Chaffee, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, 
who commenced their operations in 1832. By these gentlemen, 
in connection with some others, of Roxbury and Boston, the 
celebrated Roxbury India Rubber Company was started, which 
was shortly after incorporated, with a capital of $300,000, which 
was afterwards increased to $400,000. For this company Mr. 
Chaffee invented the famous machine for spreading gum-elastic 
without a solvent, which is now so generally known as the mam- 
moth machine ; machinery of this kind, but of smaller dimen- 
sions, is now generally used in the United States, in the man- 
ufacturing of gum-elastic. The mammoth machine weighed 
about thirty tons, and was patented by Mr. Chaffee, who dis- 
posed of the patent to the Roxbury company for the sum of 
$10,000; the machine itself cost nearly $30,000, owing to its 
uncommon size and the length of time in building. 

Immediately after the establishment of the Roxbury company, 
many other companies were incorporated, with the impetuosity 
and daring so characteristic of American enterprise. In Boston, 
South Boston, Chelsea, Woburn, and Framinoham, Massachu- 

7 7 7 O ' 

setts ; New York, Staten Island, and Troy, New York ; fac- 
tories were started with capitals of from $50,000 to $500,000. 
After striving from one to three years to surmount the difficul- 
ties of the manufacture, they, as well as many individuals who 
had engaged in the manufacture, abandoned the business as 
hastily as they entered it, with generally a total loss of the 
capitals invested. As I shall have occasion to speak again, (in 
connection with my own experiments,) of the causes of the dis- 
asters which impelled them to abandon the manufacture, and 
induced me to experiment for the purpose of overcoming the 
difficulties, which have been previously referred to, I shall not 
enlarge upon them here. 



The present method of gathering Oum-elastic objectionable. The smoking process unneces- 
sary. Exposure to the sun injurious. Disadvantage of impm-e admixtures in gathering to 
manufacture. Virgin gum. Imported impure gams. The tropical regions yield an immense 

- supply of Gum-elastic. 

The object of this chapter is not to describe the method of 
gathering the gum as it is now practiced. This method is de- 
scribed under the head of " Indian Manufacture." My purpose 
is briefly to draw the attention of the mercantile community to 
the subject, and to satisfy them that the present is perhaps the 
worst possible method that could be devised, and that it is at- 
tended with a vast amount of labor which does no good, but a 
great deal of injury. 

The market is now supplied almost wholly by the importation 
of India rubber from Para, which has been subjected to the 
process of Indian manufacture. This was in former times use- 
ful, but is now wholly unnecessary. What renders this article 
still more objectionable, is the careless manner in which the 
Indians perform their work, probably from ignorance of its im- 
portance ; and in some instances, it would appear that foreign 
substances are purposely intermixed, in order to increase the 
weight of the gum. 

The writer does not profess to be sufficiently informed to 
prescribe any precise mode of gathering and treating the native 
gum, instead of that at present practiced in Para. The most 
suitable way will suggest itself to any man of intelligence, who 
is informed in what state the gum is wanted for the manufac- 
tories. Since the manufacture has undergone the changes 

w^ °^^ 



treated of in this work, that which needs to be most insisted on 
is, that the gum should not be smoked, and should be kept clear 
from intermixture with any foreign substances. The state of the 
gum in other respects, and the size and shape of the masses, are 
of little consequence. Owing to the difference between the 
trees of India, and those of South America, and to the differ- 
ence in the flowing of the sap, and other circumstances, differ- 
ent ways may answer best in different countries, taking into 
consideration the mode of transportation, and always bearing 
in mind that the gum should not be long exposed to a hot sun. 
If it is drawn upon hides, or into ceroons made of hides, they 
should not be greasy, for although grease may be mixed with 
the gum in the process of vulcanizing, without harm, and some- 
times even with advantage, this cannot be done v/ith the native 
unvulcanized gum without destroying it. 

The writer worked different lots of gum, collected in ceroons 
and casks, and also on hides, as eai-jy as 1835. These parcels 
of gum were of the very best quality, although they were in a 
filthy state, and for this reason, had been suffered to remain in 
the hands of the importer for years ; and also, for the reason 
that at the time it was imported, there was little or no sale for 
gum of any description, unless it had been smoked by the na- 
tives, and submitted to the Indian process of curing with the 
wasson palm-nut, which was then necessary, in order to render 
it fit for the use of the American or European manufacturer. 
The shippers of these parcels, probably did not know the reason 
why the article was undesirable ; and probably do not now know, 
that the same article would now bring the very highest price, if 
clean, notwithstanding the offensive odor, which is usually con- 
sequent upon the gum being collected in these ways, and being 
left to coagulate in the whey. When drawn into ceroons, the 
whey discolors the gum, and when dried in it, becomes hard, and 
has the appearance of loam ; but this is softened and washed out 
with hot water, and the unnatural, tainted odor, is dispelled in 
the process of manufacture. 


Possibly it may be best obtained by tapping the roots of the 
trees, which it is inferred may be done from the spontaneous 
flowing of the virgin gum from the trees which are not tapped. 
In countries where it is obtained by allowing the sap to flow 
down the side of the tree, the loose bark should be scraped from 
the tree. When the trees are abundant, and the branches are 
easily accessible, (as is said to be the case with some species of 
the tree,) the branches may be chopped oft", and the gum drawn 
on hides, or into ceroons, or sacks made of hides. 

As the gum is not injured by salt water, it requires no protec- 
tion from it, and when it is most convenient, may as well be im- 
ported in ballast, as in any other way. It is sometimes imported 
thus from India. There is no danger of loss any where, under 
any circumstances, from spontaneous decomposition. In this 
respect, gum elastic is imperishable in its nature, and not subject 
to decay, like some other vegetable substances. 

To coticlude this important part of the subject, I repeat that 
it is only necessary to guard against two things, namely, the 
intermixing of foreign substances with the gum, and exposure 
to the sun. When it has been exposed to the sun for a long 
time, that part which is damaged may always be known by its 
melted and soft state, and where the masses are larger, as those 
from India sometimes are of a ton weight or more, the effect of 
the sun, or weather, will not extend so far beneath the surface as 
to cause much loss in the article, even if exposed a long time. 

The demand for native gum-elastic is becoming so great, and 
increasing with such rapidity, that there is no occasion for the 
Indian to delay the supply, by stopping to smoke it in layers of 
one hundred in number, to the thickness of an inch, when 
they may have enough to do to gather it with the least 
possible trouble. Virgin gum, that which is found at the root 
of trees which are not tapped, is always of the very best quality. 
I would here remark that it will be important to the interests 
of the countries, where the gum is gathered, as well as for those 
engaged in its importation, to notice particularly the following 
facts. In the early attempts to manufacture the gum in the 



United States, it was found that no kind, except that which had 
been cured (in the manner alluded to) by the Indians, could be 
manufactured in any way, into goods that would not, in a very 
short time, decompose. This fact being generally made known 
in Para, and being exactly adapted to the state of the manufac- 
ture there, the Indians continued to smoke it, and the exporters 
have continued to send this kind of gum, and the manufacturers 
are now compelled to work it because they can obtain no other. 
This unfortunate state of things exists for the reason that it 
is not generally known that for the present manufactui-e, by 
the vulcanizing process, the gum is very much injured instead 
of being improved by the present mode of gathering, and 
curing it by this tedious and expensive process of smoking. 
But the greatest objection to this method is, that being 
drawn into the clay cups, and moulded on clay, the clay gets 
mixed with the gum, and also during the process of smoking 
in the air, insects, and other foreign substances become mixed 
with it ; beside, it is so much discolored by the smoke, that it can- 
not be worked into bright colors, or made so white as would be 
desirable for the purpose of printing. 

Were the gum drawn into close vessels, or into pans, and thus 
kept quite clean without this waste of labor, it would not only 
cost less," but be more than doubly valuable, for many uses, 
especially for the manufacture of air-proof fabrics, which could 
be made air-tight, with much less than half the thickness and 
quantity of gum that is now required, because when the gum is 
perfectly clean, articles of air work may be made air-tight, with 
an exceeding thin layer of gum, while a very small particle of 
dust in the gum will cause a leak, in a sheet thicker than would 
be required for this purpose, if it were quite pure. 

Although the labor of smoking is performed by Indian females, 
and may not be considered of much value, it is nevertheless a 
waste, the results of which are only evil, requiring the more 
costly labor of others to undo them. 

The importance of a change in the mode of gathering the 
gum, will fully appear, when it is considered that the chief cost 


in the manufacture, by the vulcanizing process, consists in 
cleaning and crushing the gum, or in' other words, in undoing 
that which need not have been done. 

On the Pacific coast of South America, the gum is said to be 
much more abundant, and more easily obtained than in Brazil. 
The gum which flows spontaneously from the roots of trees that 
are not tapped, and which is known and has been described, as 
virgin gum, and which is obtained in masses of from five to 
thirty pounds, although by no means clean, is decidedly better 
than that which is smoked. Unfortunately, the present mode of 
gathering gum, has become too general in Para to be suddenly 
changed. Another circumstance which tends to retard the 
change proposed, is the fact that from 1833 to 1835, when spec- 
ulation raged in gum-elastic in the United States, large quanti- 
ties of the virgin gum, and also of the gum from the Pacific 
coast, were sent out to the United States. It was such as is 
now wanted, and was gathered in the manner already described, 
by drawing it upon raw hides and into ceroons, but it could not 
be used, as the manufacture was then conducted. The gum 
thus exported to the United States remained a long time unsold ; 
therefore, the change in the manufacture, as well as in the 
market, m.ust become known, before a change can be expected in 
the mode of collecting it, or rather before the proper methods 
which were prematurely adopted, and subsequently checked, 
will be recommenced. From 1830 to 1835, many large ship- 
ments arrived from India, of from twenty thousand, to one 
hundred thousand pounds weight, evidently gathered where it 
flowed down the sides of the tree, and was stripped off with a 
mixture of bark. Other parcels of from five thousand, to ten 
thousand pounds, were brought from Valparaiso in large heavy 
sheets drawn from the tree upon raw hides, and having the ap- 
pearance of hides rolled up. Others arrived in ceroons, or bags 
made of hides. This last article, although in a filthy state, on 
account of the gum being coagulated in a spongy mass, and the 
whey being turned to a dark brown color, and dried upon it, be- 
came quite clean when washed, and, in fact, was of the best 



quality. All these kinds remained complete drugs in the market, 
until they were re-shipped to England or elsewhere, or gradually 
found their way into varnishes, boot-blacking, &c., at very low 
prices. Were the merchants of India to try the experiment of 
shipping the India gum free from bark, and those of Valparaiso, 
South America, to send it in the same way they formerly 
did, but cleaner if possible, they would no doubt receive a very 
different account of sales. Fresh cargoes of India gum are at 
this time arriving, which meet a ready market, but they con- 
tinue as yet to be mixed with the bark of the tree. 

As gum-elastic is a production of most, if not of all tropical 
regions on the globe, and as the supply is, beyond question, in- 
exhaustible and abundant for all its various uses, when the 
numerous facts become generally known with regard to its 
importance as an article of commerce, it may be hoped 
that as new channels of supply are opened, the best modes will 
be adopted of collecting it ; and that the Indian tribes of 
Para will become reconciled to relinquish the manufacture to 
their more civilized competitors, and find a more profitable em- 
ployment by sending them the native gum in its unmanufactured 
and pure state. 

The certainty that there will in future be a very great con- 
sumption of the various kinds of India rubber and water-proof 
gums, has caused a good deal of apprehension with many as to 
the supply, and it is asked, Where is it to come from ? — will 
there not be a scarcity ? It is true that, owing to the sudden 
and rapid extension of the manufacture, together with some 
commercial speculation in the article, the price has for the 
present year, 1851, been unusually high ; but this is a state of 
things which will not continue. The supply is literally inex- 
haustible. There is a belt of forest trees, extending ten degrees 
each side the equator around the globe, which yield these gums 
of various kinds ; and, as has been the case with turpentine 
and resin, the greater the demand, the cheaper in all probability 
these substances will be, when once the attention of mankind is 
turned to the subject, and (that which is already being done) 



enterprising civilized races engage in the business of collecting 
it, instead of relying on one tribe of Indians on a single river, 
there will no longer be any solicitude on the score of supply. 

There is greater danger, in the lapse of time, of a scarcity of 
pine trees. It is matter of history that, in the early settlement 
of America, such fears were entertained, and laws were passed 
in some of the colonies to prohibit the cutting down of pine 
trees. The alarm then was, that there would not be a supply 
of masts, turpentine, tar, &c., for the royal navy. The clearing 
of lands for cultivation, the enormous destruction for fuel, ship 
and building materials, make great inroads upon the pine forests ; 
but these causes are not, and are not likely to be, in operation 
for the extinction of the India rubber tree, with the exception 
of one variety, that of the Gutta Percha, which it is said is cut 
down for the purpose of obtaining its gum. Whether this waste 
is at all necessary, or whether it will continue, is unknown to 
the writer. 

Since it has been found that common resin, gum-shellac, and 
coal-tar, can be vulcanized in proportions of equal parts with 
India rubber, great as the demand must unquestionably become 
for the fabrics made of these substances, there is no probability 
of a scarcity of the raw materials. 



Sheet India rubber. Peculiarities of the invention. Laminated fabrics of cotton and gum. Com- 
mencement of the manufacture. The author's reasons for jjatenting his improvements. The 
process of solarization. An extract from Perciva I. Awards given to the Inventor. Certificates. 
Copy of original specification of patent, 1844, as legally prepared in 184L The process patented 
in England, in 1844. Synoptical statement on the author's claim to his inventions. 

It is not the design of the author to discuss, in this chapter, 
claims of a legal nature, or the merits of minor inventions which 
have been made by him during the course of his experiments. 
Such of the inventions as are exclusively his, both as relates to 
their origin and their development, as also those that are pat- 
ented by him, are indicated by his initials affixed to them in the 
index. Pains have also been taken by him to credit to other 
persons the inventions which originated with them, even though 
they have been developed and brought to the notice of the pubhc 
by the writer. 

The points to which it is desired to draw particular attention 
in this chapter, are the three following : 

1st. The manufacture of gum-elastic into sheets, in 1835, 
and the discovery of the nitric acid gas process in 1836. 2d. 
The discovery of the heating or vulcanizing process in 1839. 
3d. The important invention of the fibrous fabrics in 1840, per- 
fected in 1850? The invention of the inodorous fabrics is here 
claimed, although its peculiar merit has not been tested by the 
public. These are matters of history, of which all who are 
informed on the subject, in the United States, have knowledge. 

That India rubber could be manufactured into sheets in such 
a manner as to prevent the surfaces, when brought in contact, 
from adhering together, and the whole becoming a solid mass, 
was never known until 1835, or that it could be made effectu- 


ally, dry, with a cloth-like surface, before 1836. This discovery 
was the subject of much comment by the press throughout the 
United States, from 1836 to 1838; and in reference to it the 
certificates were given, and medals of public institutions were 
awarded at that period, with the inscriptions, which will be 
found in the appendix. They are only selections among many 
testimonials of a similar authority. 

But what is of greater importance, is the fact that before the 
year 1839, it was never heard of that India rubber of any kind 
could be so prepared or wrought, — whether by the Indians, or 
from the gum as it exudes from the tree, as was attempted by 
Americans, or re-manufactured by any process whatever, — that 
it would not be stiffened by the cold, or softened by exposure to 
heat of the sun and a warm climate, and also that it would not 
be quickly acted upon by all the essential and common oils, or 
be divested of its peculiar property, adhesiveness, which is now 
done in the manner hereafter described. 

This change wrought in gum-elastic by sulphurous gas and a 
high degree of heat, was first made by the writer in the town 
of Woburn, about ten miles from the city of Boston, Mass., in 
the winter of 1838 and 1839, under circumstances of such a 
nature, that there could be no mistaking the facts in the case, 
or blending the results of the writer's laboi's with those of any 
other individual. The circumstances of the inventor prevented 
public notoriety of the discov^ery of 1839 as soon after it was 
made as would have been desirable. These circumstances are 
alluded to in a subsequent chapter. 

A more detailed account of the particulars attending this dis- 
covery, is given under the head of experiments. 

At the time specified, the inventor was so completely insu- 
lated by misfortune, (seemingly courted by him, in persisting in 
what appeared to every one else an idle and foolish enthusiasm,) 
and all his acts and pretensions at that time were so censured 
or ridiculed, as to identify, in the most unquestionable manner, 
the inventor with the discovery. As regards the original state 
of native India rubber, and the change wrought in it by treat- 



ment with sulphur and heat, and the importance of that change, 
there need be no more said in this place. The statements made 
in other parts of this work, relating to the substance both in its 
native state and after it is vulcanized, may at any time be tested 
and demonstrated, by the employment of chemical agents. 

As to the third claim specified, which relates to the fibrous 
fabrics, it needs to be distinctly understood that this claim is 
made for laminated fibrous fabrics, and not for the mixing of 
fibrous substances with gum-elastic by grinding. For a process 
of mixing fibres by grinding, a patent has been issued in the 
United States, to' my brother, Nelson Goodyear. 

In 1844, the writer obtained a patent in the United States, 
for a method of manufacturing raw cotton and wool, when lam- 
inated with alternate layers of gum-elastic ; but notwithstanding 
five years have elapsed, he did not succeed in demonstrating the 
practicability of the invention, even to his own satisfaction, 
until 1848. It is now^ rendered practicable only by important 
modifications of the original method of operating. Neither is 
there an unqualified claim made to the first idea of combining 
fitrous substances with gum-elastic. The mixing of fibrous 
substances with gum-elastic has been discussed since the com- 
mencement of the manufacture ; but to the development and 
practical demonstration of that which had existed only as a 
vague and undefined theory, the author makes unqualified claim. 
One argument in reference to the invention of the laminated 
fabrics, and the different articles made of them, should be con- 
clusive in all future time, as to whom these inventions rightfully 
belong. It is this : although the number and quality of speci- 
mens of these inventions are amply sufficient to demonstrate 
their utility, they are, at the present time of writing, 1851, so 
new, that the writer is nearly alone in his estimation of their 
value ; and his judgment is not only doubted by the public, but 
even by his associates and licensees, as to the importance of 
these inventions. He is, however, equally confident of their 
great value, in a mechanical or constructive sense, as of the 
value of the vulcanizing process in a chemical point of view. 


The same remarks, so far as relates to invention, are applicable 
to some other fabrics and articles which are entirely new, the 
claim to which is designated in the index by the initials of the 
inventor. The recent introduction into the manufacture of 
gum-elastic, of the fibrous fabrics named in this volume — " tis- 
sue," "vellum," and "the plated and porous fabrics" — the writer 
considers next in importance to the discoveiT of vulcanization ; 
and although they are yet hardly known, they will be found to 
be the means, more than any other fabrics, of substituting gum- 
elastic for leather. 

As regards the commencement of the manufacture of India 
rubber, the writer does not claim to be the first who engaged in 
it, even in the United States. With regard to the origin and 
the progress of the manufacture in this and other countries, the 
important facts, so far as he has been able to obtain them, are 
given under the heads of foreign and domestic manufacture, 
and in other parts of this work. It is due to say that numerous 
individuals among his associates and licensees, have done much 
to facilitate ths development of the various branches of the 
business that have passed into their hands. 

Without assuming any thing more than what is strictly true, 
the author may say, what will be corroborated by all who have 
any knowledge of his course, that, as relates to his labors pre- 
vious to the discovery of the vulcanizing process, so in regard 
to the subsequent improvements, applications, and fabrics, he 
has, with little reference to personal comfort or pecuniary ad- 
vantage, applied himself constantly to the development of the 
subject for the period of fourteen years, without being diverted 
from the fixed purpose to complete the system of inventions, as 
presented in this work, avoiding the temptations that often pre- 
sented themselves, in the profits which might be derived from 
prosecuting the manufacture of many of the articles, and has 
made invention and the improvement of gum-elastic his busi- 
ness and profession. With what success, an opinion may be 
formed from the descriptions presented by this work, also from 
the specimens which are produced, and the few that are bound 


with this publication. Having confined himself to these labors 
for so long a time, it would have been indeed grateful to the 
inventor if none of them need to have been made subjects of 
patents. It is repulsive to the feelings, that improvements re- 
lating to science and the arts, and especially those of a philan- 
thropic nature, should be made subjects of money-making and 
litigation by being patented. The apology he has to offer for 
doing that which was repugnant to his feelings, is the unavoid- 
able necessity of the case. At different periods during a course 
of years, he was unable to prosecute his experiments for want 
of pecuniary means, and was consequently obliged to obtain 
them of his friends, upon the prospective value of his inventions, 
through such legal advantage as was to be had under the patent 

The question may arise in some minds. How does it happen 
that in this case the claims of one individual are so extensive, 
including not only the original discovery, but also embracing a 
large share of the uses and applications that have grown out of 
it ? The reasons are given at length, under the heads of 
" American Manufacture," and " Experiments of the Inventor." 
The principal reason may also be briefly stated here. The 
general disfavor with which any thing relating to India rubber 
was regarded in the United States, and the want of pecuniary 
means to enable the writer to employ others, before, at the time 
of, and for some time after, the discovery of the heating process, 
so insulated him from the co-operation, assistance, and sympa- 
thy of others, that he was compelled to carry on his experiments 
alone, and in opposition to the unanimous censure or ridicule 
of all who were at that time acquainted with him and his occu- 

During the progress of the experiments v/ith the substance, 
new uses and applications were constantly suggested to the 
mind of the writer. Many of the articles that are specified 
and described as new in this work, have been experimented 
upon at different times, during the period of fourteen years. 
The two applications that have been last completed and 


brought to the notice of the pubhc — carpeting and globes — 
were among the first that the inventor attempted to make. 
This accumulation of inventions is the result of years of labor 
and constant application to the subject. 

Fortunately, the substance is one with which, in experiment- 
ing, fingers are better than any other mechanical power, of 
the same force, when the dissolving process is used, which was, 
before the substitution of steam and pressure, the only one in 
use. Fingers were the only mechanical power of which the 
writer had command during the first two years of his experi- 
ments, and that by which he mixed and worked many hundred 
pounds of gum, afterwards spreading it upon a marble slab 
with a rolling-pin. Thus, owing very much to the plastic 
nature of the substance, in extreme poverty, he was able to 
persevere in his course, against all obstacles, and having 
endured alone the reproaches which were heaped upon him 
without measure, the recognition of merit is now the more 
grateful. Whatever of misfortune may hereafter befall him, 
he will have the satisfaction of knowing that his efforts have 
been successful, and of witnessing on every side, and in every 
civilized country, the growing importance of the numerous 
branches of manufacture already established, and which may in 
his life-time be established, under these inventions and im- 

Before dismissing the subject of the writer's claims to im- 
portant inventions in the treatment of caoutchouc and its com- 
pounds, in justice to himself and in anticipation of the future 
as relates to a mode of treatment in the manufacture which, 
though lightly esteemed and little thought of now, he believes 
will be extensively practiced hereafter, especially in the treat- 
ment in the kind of caoutchouc called gutta percha, he feels 
bound to make a strong though qualified claim to the process 
of solarization. This process consists in exposing caoutchouc, 
when combined with sulphur, to the sun's rays. The powerful 
influence of the sun's rays has been known, as relates to its 



general effects, since 1837.. and was first made known to the 
writer by N. Hayward ; but as to its practical utility, it is not 
even now publicly known. It was practiced to a very limited 
extent by the writer and one or two of his licensees, previous 
to the discovery of the vulcanizing process ; but the art being 
then imperfectly known, was impracticable. The odor of the 
sulphur, in the quantity in which it was then used in the 
fabrics, was so strong as not to be endurable, and the practice 
of solarizing has been abandoned for many years past, except- 
ing where it has been used for drying off the tackiness of goods 
that were vulcanized. This practice of some manufactories, 
especially that of the Union India Rubber Company, in the 
manufacture of garments, is one among other proofs that solar- 
ization, to the depth to which it extends, is the most complete 
vulcanization ; but this effect of the process does not extend to 
any considerable depth, or so as to cure gum of the thickness 
with which the fabrics were formerly coated. The claim to 
the new use of solarization, and the rendering of this process 
practically useful, by the writer, is founded in his discovery 
that a minute portion of precipitated sulphur — in quantity as 
small as one ounce to twenty pounds of caoutchouc — was ade- 
quate for the desired result ; and also in his invention of the 
"plated" fabrics, by which an extremely thin coat of caout- 
chouc and its compounds is made to answer a better purpose 
in all respects than the large quantity formerly used, whereby, 
on account of the thinness of the "plating" of the fabrics, so- 
larization may be substituted in these fabrics instead of vulcan- 
ization. This claim of the writer to the new and improved 
use of this process is made with the greater force and propri- 
ety, for the reason, that up to the time of writing this article, 
the facts here stated, as to the effects and utility of the process, 
are generally doubted by those best acquainted with the caout- 
chouc manufacture. After so great notoriety of the art of 
vulcanization, wherever he now ventures to advocate his 
opinions, it is considered little less than heresy for the discov- 
erer of that process to treat of any other as important, and 


particularly of one that has been so much and so long discred- 
ited and disused. 

This view of the subject is taken only because the matter is 
not understood. The different manner of using it is in fact 
equivalent to a new discovery ; and the rendering of any art 
available which has been once condemned and disused, is even 
more difficult than it is to introduce an invention entirely new. 

It is less understood that there is in fact no rivalry between 
the two processes ; in other words, vulcanization is not ren- 
dered less valuable by solarization : they apply to very different 
classes of fabrics. While light and the sun's ra\'s operate upon 
extremely thin coated or plated fabrics, the more intense and 
artificial heat used in vulcanization accomplishes the more diffi- 
cult result, of changing the nature of masses of gum of any 
desired thickness. 



With reference to attempts that have been made to deprive 
the inventor of his rights, he can not refrain from quoting 
from a poem of Percival, portions of which are appropriate 
to the case in point, and which will be felt by any one who 
has been in a similar way wronged, either in authorship or 

While thus they are intent * 

Alone on truth, conscious of that one pure 
And single purpose, nor suspecting ill 
Of such as they had trusted, thinking loo 
The world was just, and none would dare to claim 
What they revealed, — they find what they had won 
By long and earnest toil, by other hands 
Seized as their own, and shown with vain display 
As their own trophy, with not even a hint 
Whence they had stolen the prize. Is there a pang 
Keener than that which runs through all the frame 
When the high-minded spirit, who would shrink 
Even from the touch of others' rights, first feels 
The fruits of years of search, borne from his grasp, 
And made the borrowed plumage, to adorn 
The week and vain ? Yes, they are weak and vain; 
Weak, for they cannot vindicate ther claim ; 
And vain, for brief indeed is their display, — 
And unsubstantial as the mists that shine 
In the neio dawn, and melt as it ascends. 

Let none, then, venture to assume as his 
The truths a better wins, by long research, 
And a far train of thought, that such alone 
Can sway and turn ; for he too soon will find 
He cannot use them : they reject his hand, 
And, self-conducted, seek their rightful lord. 

Irus may steal the exiled hero's bow 
He cannot bend, and take the ponderous sword, 
Too weighty for his arm — 

So have no fear, 
Servant of Nature, that what gems she gives 
Thee, from her hidden stores, will ever grace 







The poor purloiner's brow — they are thy own ! 
Nor fear, if what thou kiiowest is true and just, 
And worthy to command the best regard, 
And take its place among discoveries 
That ever last, should be passed silent by, 
By such even who pretend to wear the robes 
Of nature's priesthood, and so teach the world. 

Go on, then, in thy task, unshrinking — seek 
What longest sought, at last, when found, rewards 
With highest joy — what finding, thou canst say, 
I too have found ! On nature print thy steps 
Deep — as in adamant ! — and tliey will last. 
Those of thy age. will by the common track 
Go smoothly on, nor know nor care that thou 
Mid tangled wilds hast found the only way 
That leads to the true goal. O'er rugged heights 
It passes, and they choose the easy plain. 
But thou hasl oft on nature pressed thy seal, 
And it will hold ! Thou, too, in lonely search 
Hast notched thy way along the clifted rocks 
And mountain summits, and when others come 
Who seek — like thee — they then will find impressed 
Thy lasting mark, and know thou hast been there. 
And traced it all. Then comes thy high reward ! 
They own thee as their guide, and wide proclaim 
Thee a discoverer. 

If thou art then 
Conscious that thou hast added aught of worth 
To the great treasury of mind — new truths 
From the wide outer w^orld, or from the world 
Within us, or creations new of art, 
Sublime or fair, to raise or to refine 
The mind and heart — trust to a coming age ; 
Confide there, and repine not; but bestow 
All thy best gifts on such as pass thee by, — 
Even as if best rewarded ; good for ill ! 

_ . G^©)» 



Certificates from L. D. Gale ; Prof. B. Silliman, and Proffa. J. C. Booth and H. M. Boje. Copy- 
right of original Specification of Patent, 184L 

As a part of the history of the origin of these discoveries and 
inventions, there are here given copies of a few Certificates, 
Testimonials and Reports, made at an early date by individuals 
who at the time of wanting them gave particular attention to 
the subjects alluded to by them respectively. The names of 
the authors of these papers, with whose high standing the 
public are well acquainted, render it unnecessary to do any 
thing more than present them. It may however be observed 
that they are given by parties who would not be likely to be 
ignorant of facts in chemistry relating to a radical change in 
a raw material, which change had long been a public deside- 

NEW YORK, 1835. 

" Awarded to Charles Goodyear, for a new discovery in India 

NEW YORK, 1835. 

" Awarded to Charles Goodyear, for a new method of manu- 
facturing India rubber." 


NEW YORK. 1836. 

" Awarded to Charles Goodyear, for India rubber drapery not 
liable to decomposition from exposure to the sun." 

NEW YORK, 1836. 

" Awarded to Charles Goodyear, for the application of India 
rubber to printing." 

NEW YORK, 1844. 

From the time of obtaining the medals in 1836, no public ex- 
hibition was made by the writer until 1844, when a general as- 
sortment of vulcanized fabrics and goods, including harness, 
shoes, buckets, &c., was exhibited at the fair of the American 
Institute at New York, for which a gold medal with the follow- 
ing inscription was awarded : — 

" Awarded to Charles Goodyear, for the best sheet rubber 
shoes, India rubber cloth, and an assortment of harness, buck- 
ets, &c." 

BOSTON, 1844. 

"Awarded to Charles Goodyear, for superior India rubber 



" Awarded to Charles Goodyear, for gum-elastic goods." 



I have made a course of experiments from information con- 
fided to me by Mr. Charles Goodyear, in relation to his method 
of the manufacture of India rubber, and have the satisfaction to 
say, that the result has been perfectly successful. 

The gum, reduced to the consistence of stiff paste, by means 
of common spirits of turpentine, which requires no purification, 
is again restored to its original elasticity and imperviousness. 
The viscous, or adhesive property which belongs to the gum in 
its natural state, and which is increased by the solvents generally 
used, has heretofore presented all the obstacles to the success of 
the manufacture and uses of this article. The process of Mr. G. 
by which this difficulty is removed, depends on chemical princi- 
ples, which are fixed and invariable, and there seems to be no 
possible obstacle to its practical application. 

L. D. Gale, 
Prof. Chevi. N. Y. College Pharmacy, and Prof. Geology 
and Mineralogy N. Y. University. 
New York, Sept. 1, 1835. 

Note. — This certificate was given before the process was made public, to 
sati.sfy the inquiries of private individuals. 




New. Haven, June 15, 1836. 

Mr. Charles Goodyear has submitted to me, and to my in- 
spection, a process by which he dissolves Caoutchouc, or India 
rubber, with common spirits of turpentine ; and then by another 
process he restores it again, so as to form a thin sheet, or fabric, 
without tissue. 

This fabric is divested of the clammy qualities that exist in 
the native elastic gum. So far as I am informed, both the pro- 
cess and the effect are new, as has been already observed by 
the Mechanics and American Institute in New York, as in- 
dicated by the silver medals bestowed by them on Mr. Good- 
year, and now in his possession. 


I would mention that Mr. Goodyear has prepared his elastic 
gum in my presence, by spirits of turpentine, and then brought 
it back without mixing or blending any other substance with it, 
so that it becomes again strong India rubber, but free from any 
clamminess ; and feeling, when pressed between the hands, like 
linen or cotton. 

June 16, 1836. 

Having seen experiments made, and also performed them 
myself, with the India rubber prepared by Mr. Charles Good- 
year, I can state that it does not melt, but rather chars, by heat, 
and that it does not stiffen by cold, but retains its flexibility in 
the cold, even when laid between cakes of ice. 

Yale College, Oct. 14, 1839. 





Philadelphia, Dec. 18, 1844. 
To Mr. Charles Goodyear. 
Dear Sir, 

Having completed a series of experiments upon the Metallic 
Gum-Elastic Composition, we submit to you a report of our 
conclusions deduced from the same ; merely premising that the 
conclusions agree so closely with the results attained by us, in 
researches on the same material some tioo years since, the re- 
marks are wholly applicable to both series of experiments. The 
experiments instituted were both mechanical and chemical. 

1st. Chemical tests. 

This composition differs remarkably from common gum-elas- 
tic in its chemical behavior. 

By the application of degrees of heat at which organic sub- 
stances are very much injured or destroyed, it remains un- 
affected, and requires an unusually high temperature to soften 
it ; about the same, it would appear, as causes it to inflame. 

It resists, in a powerful manner, those chemical agents which 
rapidly destroy, dissolve, or soften common gum-elastic. Long 
continued immersion in the usual solvents of gum-elastic, does 
not produce solution ; a shorter period of contact or immersion 
seems to have no effect upon it. 

Strong oil of vitriol and nitric acid char it only after con- 
tinued contact ; a shorter time of immersion, or somewhat diluted 
acids, produces no effect. Boiling water and alkaline liquids 
produce no effect upon it, unless the latter be very concentrated 
and boiling, and even then the effect is a trifling diminution of 
its tenacity. 

It will be observed from the above behavior, that it resists 
chemical tests in a manner superior to organic substances. 


2d. Mechanical tests. 

It possesses all the usual properties of common gum-elastic, 
but it far surpasses the latter in the degree of these properties. 

Its tenacity, or the force which it opposes to rupture, is much 
greater than that possessed by ordinary gum-elastic ; we have 
not submitted it to direct measurement, but a simple practical 
test convinced us of its superior tenacity. 

When opposed to great degrees of cold, even below 32°, it ap- 
pears to be undiminished in its elasticity, flexibility, and tenacity, 
in which valuable property it diftei's so strikingly from ordinary 
gum-elastic, that this alone, if it possessed no other superiority 
over common gum, would entitle it to the praise of being the 
greatest improvement in the manufacture of gum-elastic. ■ 

We have had pieces of it lying for two years in our laboratory, 
and during the same period have repeatedly employed portions 
of it for connecting apparatus, and for other purposes, and we 
find that it resists mechanical abrasion, as well as chemical 
action, powerfully ; nor have we found it touched by vermin, nor 
altered in the slightest degree. 

Besides the above properties, resulting from experiments, there 
are others evident to those who have examined the goods manu- 
factured from the metallic gum-elastic composition ; such as the 
ease with which it may be wrought into an infinite variety of 
goods, adapted to almost every variety of purpose ; the ease 
with which it receives color, the finest lines of printing, &c. ; 
but as these properties may be more or less understood by a 
simple inspection of the goods, we forbear taking farther notice 
of them. 

In conclusion, we cannot but draw the inference from our 
own experiments, and from an examination of the different kinds 
of fabric made from this singular composition, that it far sur- 
passes all other attempts made to manufacture gum-elastic 

Respectfully yours, 

(Signed,) Jas. C. Booth and H, M. Boye. 





Be IT KNOWN that I, the undersigned, Charles Goodyear, of 
Boston, county of Suffolk, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
have invented a new and useful improvement, called Goodyear's 
Patent Fabrics, of which the following is a full and exact 

These fabrics are made of a compound of gum-elastic, sulphur 
and white lead, mixed with different kinds of fibre, such as 
cotton, wool, flax, hemp, leather, and hair ; and also applied to 
different kinds of cloth, cordage, leather, paper, &c. 

The compound is made as follows, viz. : — 

One pound of gum-elastic, 

One quarter to half a pound of sulphur, 

One half to one pound of white lead. 

The gum is dissolved, and the white lead and sulphur are 
ground, in the usual method known to manufacturers, with 
spirits of turpentine. 

When this compound is mixed with fibrous substances, I 
think it quite necessary that the gum should be dissolved as 
above, the different substances being thoroughly mixed with 
each other. When the fibrous substance has sufficient length 
of staple to be formed into a sheet or web, like cotton wadding, 
I prefer applying the compound to it in the same way in which 
it is applied to cloth or leather by callenders, instead of mixing 
it with the compound, and when the compound is applied to 
cloth or leather without the fibre, it is done with the various 
kinds of machinery made use of by India rubber manufac- 

The compound without fibre may be mixed and ground 
thoroughly together dry, and applied to cloth, leather, or a sheet 
or web of fibre, with heated callenders, without the use of tur- 


pentine to dissolve the gum as above specified. Another fabric 
is made of this compound alone, without any other substance, by 
spreading it upon any smooth article or glazed cloth, or upon 
that which 1 prefer to any thing else, a web of cloth, manufac- 
tured and finished according to this specification. This fabric 
is found very superior on account of its elasticity, delicate tex- 
ture, and adaptation to surgical uses. It will be understood, 
that after the compound is sufficiently dry, it is removed from 
the cloth. By this method I also manufacture a fabric of pure 
gum-elastic, for which letters patent were granted me, June 17, 

When these several fabrics are sufficiently dried, either in a 
heated room or by the weather, they are then exposed to a high 
degree of heat, say about two hundred and seventy, by running 
the fabrics between heated callenders, or before or through a 
furnace or oven, or a heated metal plate. I consider the best 
method of doing it before or between plates, at a little distance 
therefrom ; when the fabrics ai^e first made into various articles 
for which they are adapted, they are placed in an oven, and 
baked with the required degree of heat ; or they may be im- 
mersed in any article that is melted or fluid, at about the 
degree of heat herein specified. 

The effect of the heating process is to improve very much the 
quality of the fabrics; previous to this they have a resemblance 
to, and are liable to some of the objections of, India rubber goods 
generally, but afterwards they are by this method every way 
improved, and in no way injured, excepting that the fabrics 
which can otherwise be made of fancy colors, are changed in 
color to a brown. 

Being finished in this manner, these fabrics are not injured by 
any kind of oils, and cannot be made adhesive by them, or in 
any other method of which I have any knowledge, nor are they 
soluble like gum-elastic in spirits of turpentine, or other essen- 
tial oils ; although by long exposure to them they may be made 
somewhat tender and pulpy, yet they resume their original 
strength when the oils are allowed to evaporate. 



They are not stiffened by cold, or melted by any degree of heat, 
unless placed in the fire. 

In some cases, when a fabric of a light color is desired, I dis- 
pense with the sulphur and white lead, and after it is finished I 
boil it in water with sulphur, or expose it to the weather, and 
especially to the sun's rays, after having brushed it over with 
the flour of sulphur while it is yet adhesive. The effect of the 
sulphur applied in this way, is to destroy entirely all the adhesive 
properties of the gum-elastic. 

In order to cleanse and free the goods from the sulphur, and 
from the smell of sulphur, I boil them in lime, potash, and 
other alkalies. 

In the manufacture of these fabrics, the proportions of the 
lead and sulphur may be considerably varied, and oxides of 
metals generally, or other pigments, may he substituted for the 

Signed in our presence, December 6, 1841. 

J. W. Roberts, 
Geo. Buckland. 

Charles Goodyear. 

The improvement which I claim, and wish to secure to myself 
by letters patent, consists in compounding the fabrics with a 
large proportion of sulphur and white lead, as herein specified ; 
and the fabrics being thus suitably prepared to endure the heat, 
and in next applying a high degree of heat, whereby the impuri- 
ties of the fabrics are entirely removed, as herein specified, or 
in any manner analogous thereto. 

I also claim as my improvement the use of fibrous substances, 
either with gum-elastic, or this compound being mixed w"ith the 
same, or made use of in the sheet or web. 

I furthermore claim as my improvement the India rubber 
fabric without tissue of any kind, and the boiling and drying 
India rubber goods in contact with sulphur, and afterwards 
cleaning them with potash, or other solvents of sulphur. 

In testimony whereof, I, the said Charles Goodyear, hereto 


subscribe my name, in the presence of the witnesses whose 
names are hereto subscribed, on the 6th day of December, Anno 
Domini, 1841. 

On the sixth day of December, 1841, before the subscriber, a 
Justice of the Peace, in and for the county of New Haven, State 
of Connecticut, and authorized by law to administer oaths, per- 
sonally appeared Charles Goodyear, and made oath that he 
verily believed that he is the first and original inventor of the 
improvement above-mentioned and described in the specifica- 
tion by him subscribed, and that he does not know that the 
same was ever before known or used, and that he is a citizen of 
the United States. 

Dennis Kimberly, 

Justice of the Peace. 

The foregoing document was legally prepared at the period 
of its date by a distinguished counselor of New Haven, whose 
signature it bears. It was deposited in the Patent Office of the 
United States as a caveat or claim of the invention, instead of 
application being made under it for a patent, as was first in- 
tended. Some of the reasons why application was not made 
for a patent until 1843, have been before mentioned; they are 
more explicitly stated as follows, viz. : 

1st. The pecuniary embarrassments of the inventor at that 
time were such, that he was unable to manufacture articles to 
demonstrate the utility of the invention, and the state of the 
public mind was such, owing to the losses which had been sus- 
tained by those who had attempted the manufacture of caout- 
chouc in the United States, that no one was willing to co-operate 
with him for this purpose ; consequently the discovery was not 
then appreciated by others as it is now. 

2d. It was also important to ascertain, previous to the appli- 
cation for a patent, whether there might not be found some 
substitute for sulphur, which was then considered objectionable 
in the vulcanizing process. 

3d. Under the circumstances above stated, there was danger 



that the patent, if issued, would be lost to the inventor, his 
creditors, and the world. That his object was not to withhold 
from his creditors the avails of these inventions when rendered 
valuable, ample proof has been given. 

4th. The inventor was very solicitous to secure patents in 
foreign countries, where the laws required that, in order to ren- 
der a patent valid, the application should be made simultane- 
ously with that in the United States, and he had not the means 
of making these several applications until 1843, when they were 
made in the United States, England, and France. Since the 
year 1844, numerous patents have been taken out, both in the 
United States and foreign countries, for modifications of the 
vulcanizing process ; and it is worthy of remark, that in none 
of these is there any attempt to dispense with the two essential 
agents, sulphur and a high degree of heat, which alone are indis- 
pensable in effecting the change in the properties of the gum by 
vulcanization, and that these two agents, sulphur and a high 
degree of heat, are distinctly claimed in the foregoing docu- 
ment, signed and sealed in 1841, as well as the writer's patents 
issued in this and foreign countries in 1844. 

The writer has intentionally omitted all mention of the 
English patent for the vulcanization of caoutchouc, enrolled by 
Thomas Hancock on the 30th May, 1844, and also from ex- 
pressing any views or opinions in relation to the circumstances 
under which this patent was taken out, lest he might possibly 
do some injustice to Mr. Hancock or his partners, Messrs. Mac- 
intosh and Co., the owners of the English patent. The inven- 
tion patented by Mr. Hancock is the same as that so fully 
described in this volume as the heating or vulcanizing process 
discovered by the writer in 1839. He hopes before long to 
have the advantage of a personal interview with Messrs Mac- 
intosh and Co. and Mr. Hancock, after which he will be better 
prepared to state his views on this subject. 




Influences which led the author to the discovery of his invention. Some particulars of the au- 
thor's personal history ; his apprenticeship. Commences in the domestic hardware and com- 
mission business. Visits the store of the Roxbury India Rubber Company in New York. 
Commences the. manufacture of India rubber goods at New Haven. Meets with diJJiculties. 
Removes to New York, and continues his exjjeriments. Tlie acid gas process. Obtains a 
patent. The new articles are introduced into England by Dr. Bradshaw, and a patent taken out 
in that country by Mr. Hancock. Visits Roxbury, and prosecutes his labors with more success 
Grants licenses. Experiments with sulphur. Result of an experiment. Embarrassments of 
the author. Discovery of vulcanizing. Results of previous failures. Difficulties to encounter. 
Incidents attending the discovery. First successful operation. 

Whenever any great improvement is made, or effects M^orthy 
of special attention are produced, the tracing of them to their 
first cause is a subject of interest to most minds, and with some 
a constant habit. 

In reference to the discovery of vulcanized gum-elastic, the 
question is frequently asked by those who know that the in- 
ventor makes no pretensions to a knowledge of chemistry, and 
that for many years he pursued a widely different occupation, 
what first turned his attention to gum-elastic, and what was the 
influence that led to such continued application, to an under- 
taking apparently so hopeless ? 

To this the writer may reply, that from the time his attention 
was first given to the subject, a strong and abiding impression 
was made upon his mind, that an object so desirable and im- 
portant, and so necessary to man's comfort, as the making of 
gum-elastic available to his use, was most certainly placed 


within his reach. Having this presentiment, of which he could 
not divest himself, under the most trying adversity, he was 
stimulated with the hope of ultimately attaining this object. 

Beyond this, he would refer the whole to the Great Creator, 
who directs the operations of mind to the development of the 
properties of matter, in his own way, at the time when they are 
specially needed, influencing some mind for every work or call- 
ing. The creature may imagine he is only executing some plan 
of his own, while he is the instrument in the hands of his 
Maker, contributing to execute his purposes, which, though we 
cannot fathom, we may believe involve, with the highest elevation 
of mind and morals, the highest improvement of things material. 

However foreign to the subject this expression of the writer's 
sentiments may appear to some, he knows there are those who 
will respond to them as not unsuitable to the occasion, or a 
digression foreign to the work. Were he to refrain from 
expressing his views thus briefly, he would ever feel that he had 
done violence to his sentiments. 

Some particulars of the personal history of the inventor are 
necessarily connected with the following account of his experi- 
ments, the publication of which is deemed important to the ob- 
jects of this work ; and the incidents related as connected with 
them, may not be uninteresting. 

Early training and subsequent experience, had probably much 
to do in fitting the writer for an enterprise which he has 
since so ardently pursued. In his business intercourse, previous 
to the undertaking, he had been brous-ht in contact with those 
engaged in most of the different pursuits of life. Thus he 
early acquired habits of observation and attention to their 
wants ; by which he was afterwards guided in his pursuit of im- 
provements, whether of farming implements and small hard- 
ware, or the various appliances of gum-elastic. 

He does not claim to have a mechanical talent, but, on the 
contrary, has an aversion to bestowing thought upon machinery 
when there is any thing complicated about it. 

The machinery which he has been compelled to invent, for 


putting in operation his improvements, viz., the shirring, cord- 
ing, and napping machines, are of the most simple construction ; 
and are just such as should be suggested to the mind of any per- 
son requiring machinery for these purposes. 

Independent of all pecuniary considerations, he has taken 
great satisfaction in trying to improve articles of necessity or 
convenience, for the use of man. Those which first engaged 
his attention were in the hardware line, and such as were 
immediately connected with his occupation. Whenever he 
observed an article in common use, in which there was ob- 
viously a great defect, whether growing out of the choice of 
unsuitable materials for the purpose, or in consequence of a 
wrong construction of the thing, he commonly applied his mind 
to the subject, to find, if possible, the best way of improving it, 
or removing, the defect, always contesting the common maxim, 
that for the interest of the trade, " things should be so made that 
they will not last too long." A theory, the fallacy of which is 
only equalled by the demoralizing influence of the sentiment, 
and the pecuniary loss both of the mechanic or manufacturer, 
and the consumer. The more completely things are made, the 
more satisfaction and enjoyment will be found in their use, and 
the greater will be the demand, especially as nothing can be so 
well made but that time will dispose of it in some way. 

The imperfections of these things, many of which are looked 
upon only as trifles, of no sort of consequence, he considered as 
of great importance, as not only the cause of much waste of time 
and money, but also productive of great moral evil. Nor is it 
exaggeration to say, that a great proportion of the annoyances 
that disturb the mind, and give rise to such evils, arise from the 
use of articles badly constructed, or from some cause not fitted 
to the use for what they are intended, to say nothing of their 
being the immediate cause of serious harm. 

" And the cable of a furlong is lost through an ill- wrought inch," 

At this early period, the manufacture of cotton and wool, ex- 
cept in families, was hardly commenced ; and the manufacture 



of hardware, except by the country blacksmith, was scarcely 
thought of. The manufacture of hardware was engaged in by 
Mr. Amasa Goodyear, during the writer's boyhood ; and when 
not at school, he was more or less occupied with the various 
branches of his father's business, such as making military and 
other kinds of metal buttons, spoons, scythes, and particularly 
the spring steel hay and manure forks, universally considered in 
the United States one of the greatest improvements ever made 
in farming implements. He was also made familiar with farm- 
ing operations, which were always attended to by his father, in 
connection with his other business. 

To all of these occupations, as well as his subsequent hard- 
ware apprenticeship, he applied himself with intense ardor and 
delight. From the age of seventeen to twenty-one, he served 
an apprenticeship at the hardware business, with the firm of 
Rogers & Brothers, Philadelphia, at that time one of the most 
extensive wholesale importing houses in the United States. 

By close application and hard labor in this business, his 
health became much impaired, so that at the expiration of his 
apprenticeship, he was greatly disappointed by being obliged to 
abandon the idea of establishing himself in the business he had 
designed to pursue. 

During the next five or six years he was engaged with his 
father, under the firm of A. Goodyear & Son, in the manufac- 
ture of the hardware spoken of, and also of clocks. The most 
important article manufactured by them at that time, was the 
spring steel hay and manure forks, introduced into use by the 
senior partner in 1810, which business has continued to increase 
to the present time, to the great benefit of the farming interest, 
throughout the United States. 

The reputation of these and other farming implements of their 
manufacture, subsequently gave to the inventor many advan- 
tages for establishing himself in the domestic hardware business; 
and it was the observation of the good done in the community, 
together with the advantages derived from the manufacture of 
these improvements, that gave a bias to his whole future course 




of life, and gave stimulus and energy to his efforts to improve 

That the reader may better understand how so great an im- 
provement can be claimed for an implement of husbandry so 
simple, it may be well to describe those that were previously 
used. They were made by the country blacksmith, of iron, very 
large and heavy, and were very easily bent and battered at the 
points, and would now no sooner be used than the wooden 
plough of the ancients. 

So completely has the article formerly used been superseded 
by this improvement, that the rising generation of farmers do 
not know what article their fathers were obliged to make 
use of 

In 1826, the writer removed from Connecticut, with his 
family, to Philadelphia, and engaged in the domestic hardware 
and commission business, in connection with the manufacturing 
establishment in Connecticut, which was carried on under the 
firm of A. Goodyear & Sons. This was the first establishment 
for the sale of domestic hardware in the United States. It was 
regarded by many as a visionary enterprise, for to that time the 
whole trade in hardware had been in imported articles. The 
predictions of that time in regard to this business were not, how- 
ever, verified ; for it was eminently successful, and, like the 
domestic dry goods business, it soon became an extensive de- 
partment of trade, which is constantly increasing. 

It will be remembered by many hardware men of the present 
day, that from 1826 to 1830, the inventor was known in our 
commercial cities to be the pioneer in domestic hardware, by 
which, and the manufactory alluded to, a handsome fortune was 
accumulated by the firm, and the writer occupied a position in 
business every way desirable ; but in consequence of too ex- 
tended operations in different States, too liberal credits, and 
heavy losses in 1830, they were obliged to suspend payments. 

After consulting with the creditors of the firm, they were 
induced to continue their business with extension of payments. 
This was considered unavoidable, on account of the amount of 


property invested in manufacturing establishments. The writer 
did not count upon the disadvantages he had to contend with, 
on account of impaired credit, and did not know, what ex- 
perience has since taught him, that under circumstances of em- 
barrassment, the only wise course is not to continue the same 
business, at least not to continue it under suspended liabilities ; 
although it is often for the interest of the creditors at the time, 
that this should be done. 

The course he adopted was attended with continued embar- 
rassment, by the shifting of claims into the hands of strangers, 
and by being held by them to bonds in different States. He 
could not make an assignment without divesting himself of the 
titles to his unfinished inventions, in which state they would 
have been of no value to himself or to his creditors. Under 
the laws that then existed, during the space of ten years he 
was repeatedly imprisoned for debt ; but, notwithstanding the 
depressing influences of these circumstances, he assiduously ap- 
plied himself to the improvements before alluded to, and shortly 
before he engaged in experimenting upon gum-elastic, (while con- 
fined upon the jail limits,) he completed one of these improve- 
ments, from the sale of which he derived the means of subsist- 
ence for himself and family. His anticipations of ultimate 
success in life were never changed, and his hopes were seldom 
for a moment depressed. 

These trials were not wholly without their advantage ; les- 
sons of life were learned from them. If any one is desirous to 
learn more of human nature than he can learn in any other 
way, or wishes for a moment to look upon the darkest side of 
life's fleeting shade, let him, for such a cause as debt and mis- 
fortmie, be placed within the bars of a prison door, without a 
dollar in his pocket, and in conscious innocence look out upon 
the world, and reflect upon the wide contrast in his condition 
with that of those who are enjoying liberty without ; while 
within he finds his fellow sufferers all upon the same level, 
whether incarcerated for the sum of one hundred pence, or of 
one hundred thousand pounds. Then, notwithstanding the 


mortification attending such a trial, if he has (as every human 
being should have,) a good purpose in life for which to live and 
" hope on," he may add firmness to hope, and derive lasting 
advantage by having proved to himself, that, with a clear con- 
science and a high purpose, a man may be happy within prison 
walls, as well as in any other (even the most fortunate,) circum- 
stances in life. 

In order to cancel a large portion of his indebtedness, he was 
induced to dispose of the good- will and the control of the steel 
fork manufacture, retaining an interest in it with his successors. 
This interest he subsequently relinquished for a similar purpose. 

The monopoly of this branch of industry had remained with 
the senior partner and the firm for more than twenty years, and 
it was with real regret that the writer parted with the last 
pecuniary advantage of a business, from which he had, for many 
years, anticipated an independence for life. At this period he 
relinquished all interest in the manufacturing firm in Connec- 
ticut, without obtaining a discharge from their former liabilities, 
upon which he was subjected to the imprisonments and em- 
barrassments alluded to. 

In reflecting upon the past, as relates to these branches of 
industry, the writer is not disposed to repine, and say that he 
has planted, and others have gathered the fruits. The advan- 
tages of a career in life should not be estimated exclusively by 
the standard of dollars and cents, as is too often done. Man 
has just cause for regret when he sows and no one reaps. And, 
besides, he was, for many years, amply compensated in a 
pecuniary way ; and it is also a satisfaction to know, that among 
the numerous domestic hardware houses that have since been 
established in all our large cities, two* of the most respectable 
and wealthy are the immediate successors of the original firm. 

A short time previous to his failure in Philadelphia, two other 
improvements, which were the invention of others, engaged 
his attention. These were unsuccessful at the time. They 
are alluded to here as deserving of notice, first, because they 

* Messrs. Heaton & Denckla, and Messrs. Curtis <fe Hand, Philadelphia. 


were among the principal causes of his failure ; not so much in 
consequence of the amount of money lost by them, as on ac- 
count of the effect the speculation had on his credit as a mer- 
chant ; also, because they are rendered much more complete by 
the improvements in gum-elastic, and because he is as confident 
now as ever, that the inventions have in themselves intrinsic 
merit, and will probably, at some future day, be thought by 
others worthy of attention, as matters of improvement. 

The two inventions above alluded to, the Stella-rota and 
Self-winding Clock, are described among the applications of 
gum-elastic, in Vol. II. 

All who have had experience with inventions, know full well 
that it requires a vast deal besides merit in an invention to make 
it successful ; it must not be too far in advance of the age ; 
besides, it requires much time and persevering effort to introduce 
a new thing into use, be it ever so good ; and, sometimes, the 
better it is, the longer it takes. Sometimes the great contrast 
in things that are improved, with those for which they are to be 
substituted, seems only to excite the incredulity of mankind. 

This was particularly the case with the cast-iron plough, and 
the improvement in forks. The inventors and introducers, in 
many cases, thought themselves highly favored when an influ- 
ential farmer consented to give them a trial, when they were 
presented to him. 

The writer has in mind instances in which they were abso- 
lutely refused, when presented, on the score of unbelief, from the 
articles being so light and well-finished. 

Oftentimes things of little or no value catch the public favor, 
and, by being prosecuted by shrewd and discerning individuals, 
large fortunes are made by them. The wonders of the day ex- 
plode, and are never heard of afterwards. At this period it 
became with the writer a serious question what he might do 
next, with any prospect of success. Foreseeing that he should 
not be likely to shake off the epithets of inventor, mechanical 
genius, or visionary, which terms are generally considered as 
synonymous, and diametrically opposed to money-getting — all 


things considered, he determined to make a profession of inven- 
tion. So completely was he hemmed in by the difficulties here 
stated, that he could not hope to recover himself by any or- 
dinary business, in competition with others ; he therefore sought 
some new field of enterprise suited to his capacity, and congenial 
to his wishes. 

He was sanguine that if he could find one in which he could 
turn to account his past experience, he might retrieve his for- 
tunes. Having been compelled to relinquish a business that 
was profitable and agreeable, and which was not subject to 
the evils and annoyances arising from all business exposed to 
competition, he was desirous, if possible, in making another 
choice, to select something that would restore him to his former 

From what has been related, it would appear that, although 
the business in which he was about to engage was new to him, 
and very different from that of hardware, he was no novice in 
relation to improvements. In boyhood he had been inured to 
labor, and subsequently had been disciplined in adversity ; and, 
considering his indebtedness to others, and the dependence of a 
family upon his efforts, he was prepared with a stout heart to 
enter upon any enterprise where he could reasonably anticipate 
success. What directly influenced him in the choice of gum- 
elastic, may be inferred from the following particulars. 

When yet a school-boy, the wonderful and mysterious proper- 
ties of this substance attracted his attention, and made a 
strong impression on his mind. A thin scale, peeled from a 
bottle or a shoe, sometime afterwards attracted his atten- 
tion, and suggested to him that it would be very useful as 
a fabric, if it could be made uniformly so thin, and could be so 
prepared as to prevent it adhering together and becoming a 
solid mass, as it soon did from the warmth and pressure of his 

About the year 1831 or 1832, the manufacture of gum-elastic 
was begun in the United States, though not in the immediate 
vicinity where he then was. He observed all that he heard or 


saw relating to it, with a good deal of interest. Some time sub- 
sequently he was passing the store of the Roxbury India Rubber 
Company, in New York, and stopped to make inquiry about life- 
preservers, with the view of purchasing one. On examining the 
tubes by which they were inflated, it occurred to him that he 
could improve their construction. Some months after this, he 
presented a specimen of his improved tube to the agent of the 
Roxbury Company, with the view of disposing of it to that com- 
pany. Being pleased with his success in that, the agent advised 
him to turn his attention to the improvement of India rubber, 
and said, in behalf of the company, he would insure a very 
large compensation to any one who would overcome the great 
difficulties they met with in the manufacture, which were, great 
adhesiveness and subsequent decomposition of the goods. 

He was also informed that the losses of the different com- 
panies had been great, in consequence of these difficulties, and 
that unless they could be removed, the business must, in all 
probability, prove a failure. 

He was not before aware that the manufacture was so imper- 
fectly understood. He was blessed with ignorance of the ob- 
stacles which he had subsequently to encounter, but soon learned 
this much, at least, that the difficulties which attended experi- 
ments with the substance, if not unparalleled, were of an uncom- 
mon character, from the fact that the experimenter, as well as 
the manufacturer, was obliged to wait the return of both warm 
and cold weather, at least twelve months, and often longer, 
before he could know with any certainty that his articles would 
not decompose, or what were the results of his labors. It is now 
a well-known fact, that even the metallic or vulcanized articles, 
if not properly made or thoroughly heated, will decompose, the 
second year, after they have remained apparently sound the first 
year. Especially is this the case when the goods have been 
manufactured with the use of turpentine. 

These facts account, in a great measure, for the time spent in 
experiments upon this substance before the discovery was made, 
and the object so long sought for gained. The same facts, also, 



account for the heavy losses sustained by the different companies 
referred to, in the article headed American Manufacture. The 
goods which were made in large quantities during the winter, 
decomposed on the return of warm weather, and were a total 
loss. The subsequent experiments of the inventor were attended 
with the same results. The hopes which had been raised by his 
apparent success, were repeatedly dissipated by the gradual fer- 
mentation of the goods on the return of warm weather. 

He had not proceeded far in his experiments, before he learned 
the fact, that the substance had baffled all the efforts of chem- 
ists and manufacturers, to divest it of its objectionable qualities. 
He not unfrequently met with physicians and others, who had 
made a long course of experiments for this purpose, but who had 
only met with disappointment. The attention of individuals of 
the medical profession was probably drawn to this substance 
before that of any other class, from the fact that gum-elastic 
was found useful for medical and surgical purposes. A descrip- 
tion of articles of this class will be found in the list of ap- 

The inventor was, however, encouraged in his efforts by the 
reflection, that that which is hidden and unknown, and cannot 
be discovered by scientific research, will most likely be dis- 
covered by accident, if at all, and by the man who applies him- 
self most perseveringly to the subject, and is most observing 
of every thing relating thereto. This fact is corroborated and 
illustrated by the circumstances attending this discovery, and, 
in all probability, had it not been made by perseverance against 
the probabilities of success, it never would have been made at 
all ; for it was well established that India rubber melted at a heat 
of about 200 degi'ees, Fahrenheit, and in the sun's rays at 100 or 
less. India rubber manufacturers had always been careful to 
avoid a heat of more than 100 degrees of Fahrenheit in the 
manufacture of their wares ; and in the case of the Macintosh 
goods, their circulars cautioned customers not to approach too 
near the fire with them. No one who had any knowledge of the 
nature of the gum, would be likely to apply a high degree of 


heat to it from design, or for the purpose of divesting it of the 
objectionable quaUty, adhesiveness, when it was so well known 
that it would melt at a low temperature. It is the use of a high 
degree of heat, an agent so destructive to the native gum, which 
forms the broad distinctive feature which characterizes this pro- 
cess. And to this time it appears to be utterly impracticable to 
apply this high degree of heat to the gum, except in combination 
with sulphur, in some form or other. There have been, however, 
many modifications of the process, and attempts at evasions of 
the patents, by combining with them other substances that are 
wholly inert, and not necessary to produce the best result. 

Among many experiments for drying and curing the gum, 
(supposing the only difficulty with it to be too great adhesive- 
ness,) the inventor was much elated with the result of one, 
which was then every way satisfactory. By this experiment, 
from one half to a pound of magnesia was mixed with the 
pound of gum. This compound had the great advantage of 
being white, which was very desirable for many purposes, as no 
India rubber goods except black had before that time been 
made in the United States, and no India rubber fabrics in 
Europe, but those of the Macintosh manufacture, in which the 
gum is put between two cloths. He then supposed that mag- 
nesia, in combination with gum, had the effect to dry it, which 
some other substances have to dry paints. 

A book was bound with this compound, (made without sul- 
phur,) in 1834, the cover of which softened and fermented at 
that time, but is now hard as shell. It is known to chemists 
that magnesia and turpentine make a hard substance, and this 
appears to be only a chemical result of the same character. 

A compound is now made by the metallizing or vulcanizing 
process, with calcined magnesia combined with the gum, which 
has a peculiar hardness and solidity, and which it is thought 
makes it better adapted to some particular uses than the ordi- 
nary compound of vulcanized gum-elastic ; and it has not yet 
been found to change or become too hard by age, like the 
article above described. 


The inventor commenced his experiments in a small dwelling, 
mixing the gum by hand, and spreading it upon a marble slab 
with a rolling-pin. He here also commenced the art of embos- 
sing on glazed cambrics. It was now supposed by himself as 
well as others, that his success in the treatment of gum-elastic 
warranted his attempts to manufacture the goods. 

By the disinterested and timely aid which was gratuitously 
offered him by a gentleman of New Haven,* he was enabled 
to commence the manufacture on a small scale, pulling and 
kneading the gum by hand, and spreading it with an iron pin 
upon a marble slab, as above stated. With the aid of a few 
hands, he succeeded, among other things, in the manufacture 
of a few hundred pairs of shoes from the embossed goods, which 
would even now be considered beautiful. 

Being impressed with the idea that the difficulties which were 
met with in the manufacture of the gum, were attributable to 
the solvents which were used, he considered himself fortunate at 
this time to find in the market some forty or fifty barrels of India 
rubber sap, among which were a number of casks in which the 
gum had not coagulated. It was said to be kept in that state 
by mixing a portion of alcohol with it, before it was exported 
from Para. The inventor now hoped to surmount all difficul- 
ties by using the sap in this hquid state, if he failed to succeed 
with other experiments. 

A son of Erin, who had been employed to work at the gum, 
had imbibed the same idea from his employer, and was before- 
hand in putting it in practice. On the arrival of the barrels 
containing the sap, he opened one at night, and on meeting his 
employer at the shop in the morning, Jerry good humoredly sig- 
nified to him that he had supplanted him, and that a Yankee 
was not so quick at inventing as an Irishman, at the same time 
pointing to the trowsers he had on, which he had dipped in the 
barrel of sap. The job was so completely done, that at first the 
impression was produced that the improvements were com- 
pleted, and that experiments with gum-elastic were nearly at an 

* Ralph B. Steele, Esq. 


end. Jerry sat down to his labor of mixing gum before the fire, 
as usual, and on attempting to get up again a few minutes after, 
he found that he was not only cemented to his seat, but that his 
legs were cemented together. On being extricated from his 
improved trowsers, to the no small merriment of the bystanders, 
he subsequently manifested no further inclination for inven- 

This experiment was a convincing proof that adhesiveness 
was a property which belonged to the gum, and was not the 
consequence of imperfect manufacture. 

The manufacture of shoes was carried on during the winter 
of 1835 — '36, in the small cottage which served also as a family 

The service which the shoes rendered, when put on trial, was 
by no means satisfactory, but it was thought that their construc- 
tion would be so improved as to make them durable, if the gum 
did not decompose. In order fully to test the quality of the 
gum, before submitting the shoes to public trial, they were 
stored ; and on the return of warm weather they were found to 
be one mass of melted gum. 

The failure of these experiments was a signal one, and the 
trial to the experimenter was greatly aggravated from the fact 
that he had previously given his friends sanguine assurances of 
his success. They now became disheartened, and declined 
lending him further assistance for such purposes, and those who 
afforded his family supplies signified they could do so no longer. 
At this period he was unable to meet his current expenses; he 
therefore sold, for the payment of those who had afforded him 
assistance, the little furniture he possessed. 

Having placed his family at board in a retired place in the 
country, leaving as collateral security, for the rent of his cottage, 
among other things, the linen spun by his wife, he went to 
New York to continue his experiments. During his absence 
these articles were sold at auction for the payment of rent. 
The loss was, at that time, cause of much regret, and the 
memory of the time is still cherished, when the daughters of New 

^p^si _ 


England spun their own linen, and the fathers and brothers were 
clad in the manufacture of the housewife. 

The writer is well aware that in alluding to incidents of this 
kind, he is speaking of things that are in themselves unimportant. 
They are but trials that are common to the lot of humanity. 
But it often happens that the merest trifles assume a degree of 
importance from their relation to a particular subject, or the 
state of mind of the individual affected by them. 

An accident causing detention on a journey, when one is at 
leisure, may become a source of amusement, while the same 
accident occurring at another time, would be attended with ex- 
treme suffering to the individual, and with serious consequences 
to others, for which reason it might deserve to be recorded. 

On arriving at New York, the inventor was kindly furnished 
with a room in which he might continue his experiments, by a 
friend.* A druggistf with whom he was acquainted, supplied 
such drugs as were necessary for his experiments. He was 
soon led to suppose that the decomposition of the goods previously 
made in New Haven, was the effect of the turpentine, and he 
now supposed that he had discovered a remedy, by boiling the 
articles compounded with magnesia in quick lime and water, 
which appeared to have the effect of tanning the gum, and 
destroying its viscous property. 

He made by this method some beautiful specimens of fancy 
articles, and some sheets of India rubber, for which, in the 
autumn of 1835, medals were obtained at the fairs of the 
Mechanics and American Institutes. The improvement was 
then supposed to be complete, the surface of the articles was 
quite dry, having just the appearance which the fabric has 
that is now called gum-elastic drapery. 

These were the first sheets of gum manufactured in any 
country, and were considered great curiosities, as well as a great 
improvement, for which he obtained letters patent, the 
day of . In a few weeks, however, he was greatly 

disappointed to find that when the goods were w^ashed with weak 

' Mr. J. W. Sexton. t Messrs. Silas Carle & Nephew. 



acid they became as adhesive as ever, and the lime vv^hich 
adhered to the surface was neutralized, and that the hme had 
only a superficial effect upon them, although fermentation and 
decomposition were prevented by the evaporation of the turpen- 
tine, caused by the heat of the water. 

In addition to the experiments that are now noticed, the in- 
ventor prosecuted numerous others, not noticed in this work, by 
which his hopes were raised for a few weeks or months, only to 
be disappointed. 

He next attempted the mixing of quicklime with the gum, 
which at first appeared to act as a dryer, but this article was 
too powerfully caustic to be worked by hand. He therefore 
obtained access to the mill of a Mr. Pike, in Greenwich, now 
a part of New York, who was at that time making some of the 
common India rubber fabrics by horse power. Here he earnestly 
prosecuted this experiment, frequently preparing his gallon jug 
of slacked lime at his room in Gold street, and carrying it on 
foot to the mill, a distance of three miles. 

The effect, however, of the lime upon the gum, after a time 
proved to be too powerful, and it was abandoned. 

He shortly after this discovered what has since been known 
as the acid gas process. In attempting to ornament a piece 
of gum-elastic drapery, which was made by boiling in lime with 
metal bronze, and not producing the desired effect, he after- 
wards applied nitric acid for the purpose of removing the 
bronze, in doing which, the specimen was discolored, and thrown 
away as useless. In reflecting on this circumstance some days 
afterwards, it occurred to the writer that he had not sufficiently 
examined the unusual appearance of the article. He was for- 
tunate in finding it, and followed up the suggestion made by the 
circumstance, until, in the course of a few months, he was able 
to make, by this process of tanning, as elegant specimens as have 
ever been made since. 

This improvement attracted much attention from eminent 
chemists, and the public institutions of the country. The cer- 
tificates of some of these individuals, and the inscriptions 


upon medals that were awarded to the inventor at that time, 
serve to show the estimation in which the improvement was 
held by them. These will be found quoted among the tes- 

Those, however, who have had experience with the progress 
of inventions, and of the hindrances in the way of bringing them 
into notice, will be sensible of the wide difference there is 
between the theoretic approbation of an invention by the public, 
and the substantial aid which is necessary to make a practical 
demonstration of its utility. 

The prospect of success with this improvement, enabled the 
inventor to make arrangements with an individual in New York,* 
to furnish the capital for manufacturing on joint account. Ac- 
cordingly a steam power was rented in Bank street for this pur- 
pose. The , inventor proceeded to Washington and procured 
letters patent for the invention, which was highly appreciated 
by the officers of the various departments of Government, from 
whom he received much encouragement. 

This process, however, did not change the character of the 
gum throughout, as it was then supposed to do by himself and 
others ; and in consequence of an occurrence hereafter referred 
to, it has not received the attention to which it is really entitled. 
In consequence of some modifications in the method of operating 
it, in connection with the inodorous fabrics, it has also gained 
increased importance in the mind of the inventor, and he has 
no doubt that when the subject is understood and duly appre- 
ciated, it wall be ranked next in importance to the vulcanizing 

For this invention letters patent were granted him in 1837 — 
and a patent was granted to Thomas Hancock, in England, for 
the same thing in 183-. 

While secretly operating this process, before having applied 
for letters patent, the inventor came near being suffocated by 
generating a large quantity of gas in a close room ; he, however, 
escaped with a course of fever, during which he was attended 

• Mr. William Ballard. 

r I 


by Dr. Joseph Bradshaw, an eminent medical practitioner, and 
a native of England. He had previously formed an acquaint- 
ance with this gentleman, who took a deep interest in the im- 
provement of gum-elastic, and frequently inquired after the 
success of the experiments with it. Specimens made by this 
process attracted his particular attention at this time, and he 
expressed to the inventor his intention of visiting his friends in 
England soon after, and kindly offered to take specimens to the 
manufacturers there, with a view to negociations for him. At 
the time he sailed, in the month of , 1836, the inventor 

made up for him a small assortment of specimens of gum-elastic 
drapery, which he took directly to the house of 
., England. 

These specimens were much admired by this house as novel- 
ties, and assurances were given to the Doctor, that if the inven- 
tion proved to be a useful one, a liberal compensation for it 
would be made by them. The English patent was taken out 
by Mr. Hancock, without any communication with the inventor. 
This may be correct according to the English patent laws, but 
is not according to the ideas of justice entertained by the in- 
ventor. The acknowledgment was however given, which is 
implied in the legal preface attached to English patents, when 
they are obtained for improvements introduced from another 

The improvement gradually obtained the confidence of the 
public in the United States, and became the subject of news- 
paper paragraphs throughout the country. 

During the fall of 1836, he also obtained medals at several 
fairs, one of them being for the application of India rubber to 
the art of printing. 

Success now seemed certain, and he was prepared to demon- 
strate, by the manufacture of the goods, the utility of the improve- 
ments of which specimens had only yet been produced. 

The manufacture was continued in Bank street during the 
winter of 1836-37. In the meantime, a large factory with 

* B7 information obtained from a foreigner. 

m:^- ■ • 


machinery, situated on Staten Island, was engaged by the 
individual who had undertaken to aid in the manufacture. 
This factory had been built by a corporation in New York, and 
occupied for the manufacture of India rubber for about a year, 
but was now abandoned. A large warehouse in Broadway was 
also engaged by him, in anticipation of the sale of the goods. 

But a new misfortune awaited the inventor. The individual 
above alluded to, who had engaged to furnish the means to con- 
duct the manufacture, was overwhelmed in the disasters which 
befel the mercantile community in 1836 ; he was left without 
ability to proceed; and this inability was erroneously attributed 
to the unfortunate business of India rubber, and want of merit in 
the improvement, instead of the true cause. 

The inventor was again left without resources or means of 
subsistence.. The extreme difficulty of obtaining such means of 
subsistence for a family in a large city, where one's fortunes are 
known to be bad, may easily be imagined. The following inci- 
dent may illustrate the manner in which they are sometimes 
unexpectedly relieved by a kind Providence. He had put in 
his pocket a small article much valued, and sallied forth in the 
morning for the purpose of obtaining with it food for the day. 
Before reaching the pawnbroker's shop he met a creditor, 
from whom he expected to receive sharp, if not bitter re- 
proaches. His astonishment was so great that he could hardly 
trust his hearing, when he accosted him with the inquiry, what 
he could do for him. On being satisfied that no insult was 
intended, he replied, without telling him that he was in search 
of food, that the sum of fifteen dollars would greatly oblige him. 
It was instantly handed to him, and the article which had been 
designed for the pawnbroker, remained in the hands of the 
owner, to relieve a greater necessity on a future occasion. He 
was now, for some time, at the mercy of the pawnbroker, every 
article that could be made available was pledged, until he was 
relieved, for the time, by the loan of one hundred dollars from a 

• James Deforest, Esq. 


In order to avail himself of the use of some furniture in pos- 
session of a younger brother, as well as his services in the fac- 
tory, he assumed the support of his family, and placed them with 
his own in a cottage connected with the establishment on Staten 
Island. Having access to the machinery, he succeeded in 
making a few articles to sell, for the supply of their immediate 

An attempt was made to draw the attention of the sharehold- 
ers of this establishment to the new improvement, in order that 
they might revive their business, and also benefit the inventor. 
But the failure of their attempts to manufacture the gum had 
been so disastrous, that during the six months he was there he 
was never able to get an individual to the factory, to look at the 
invention, or even to look after the premises, so completely were 
they abandoned. 

It is, perhaps, worthy of remark, that during the first years of 
his experiments, until after he had discovered the heating or 
vulcanizing process, and became certain that he had attained 
his object, he made it an invariable practice to test the value of 
the various experiments, by wearing some article of apparel 
made from the material, that he might as soon as possible arrive 
at correct conclusions respecting them ; the wearing of gum- 
elastic about the person being one of the severest tests to which 
it can be put. 

An anecdote may be related which exhibits in its true light, 
not only the opinion of the public as relates to the enthusiasm of 
the inventor, but also his poverty. 

A gentleman being inquired of how he might be recognized, 
said, "If you meet a man who has on an India rubber cap, 
stock, coat, vest, and shoes, with an India rubber money purse, 
without a cent of money in it, that is he." 

Late in the summer of 1836 he succeeded in obtaining a 
small loan from a friend ; collected a handful of his best speci- 
mens and went to Roxbury, Massachusetts, for the purpose of 
ascertaining what might be done there. He was kindly received 
there by some gentlemen who were formerly his customers in 



the hardware hne, and Mr. Henry Willis, with whom an in- 
timate acquaintance had been formed during his apprenticeship 
in Philadelphia, and who generously gave him facilities. His 
plans were also materially forwarded by the sympathy and kind- 
ness of Mr. John Haskins and Mr. E. M. Chaffee. 

Boston and the country for twenty miles round, was then 
suffering from the severe losses incurred through the man- 
ufacture and speculations in this business. In 1834, such was 
the mania upon the subject, that it was generally considered in 
this vicinity, a want of common sagacity for any one not to 
own more or less India rubber stock. It was the all prevailing 
topic of excitement, and if he could have brought his improve- 
ment to Boston in season, as the agent of the Roxbury com- 
pany assured him, before he commenced his experiments, he 
would unquestionably have realized a large sum for it. But 
now, the public mind was completely paralysed and disgusted 
with the subject, and it was of importance to the credit of any 
man in business, that he should be known not to have any thing 
to do with it ; and much more to his credit, if he could show 
that he had never engaged in the speculation. He however 
met with several gentlemen of independence, who, notwith- 
standing their heavy losses in the business, from pride of opinion 
on the subject, were very desirous to see the business rise again. 
Through these persons he brought his specimens to the notice 
of the public, and obtained access to the use of the famous Rox- 
bury machinery, by which he was able luithout the use of turpen- 
tine, to demonstrate the importance of his invention. 

The invention of this machine resuscitated the Roxbury Com- 
pany, and caused the stock to advance to par, after nearly the 
whole capital of the company had been sunk in fruitless attempts 
to manufacture the goods with solvents. It was supposed that 
the solvents being dispensed with, the difficulties of the man- 
ufacture, occasioned by the adhesiveness and decomposition of 
the goods, would be quite surmounted, and that the gum would 
be at least as good as in its native state. 

It was subsequently ascertained by the company that their 




embarrassments were not owing to the solvents that were 
used in the manufactm'e, but to adhesiveness being an inherent 
property of the gum. The stock again dechned, until the man- 
ufacture was completely abandoned by the company, about the 
time the writer first went to Roxbury. 

Several years subsequent to this time, this machine, with 
Mr, Chaffee's patent for it, was purchased by the writer. 
Machinery of this description, for manufacturing without sol- 
vents, has now become of great importance, and is almost indis- 
pensable for the economical and successful manufacture of the 
heavier kinds of goods made by the vulcanizing process. 

In the winter of 1837-38, the inventor re-commenced the 
manufacture of shoes with better success than that which at- 
tended his experiments at New Haven. He then invented a 
new method of constructing shoes, for which a patent was 
granted him, which patent was disposed of in connection with a 
license for curing them by the acid gas process.* 

in the summer of 1838 two licenses were disposed of, one for 
piano-forte covers and table-cloths,f another for carriage-cloths; J 
both of these were for the use of the acid gas in connection with 
the solarizing process. The origin of the first named process 
has been stated, that of the latter may here be noticed. 

In the summer of 1838 he became acquainted with Mr. 
Nathaniel Hayvvard, of Woburn, Mass., who had been em- 
ployed as the foreman of the Eagle Company at Woburn, 
where he had made use of sulphur by impregnating the solvent 
with it. It was through him that the writer received the first 
knowledge of the use of sulphur as a drier of gum-elastic, 

Mr. Hay ward was left in possession of the factory, which was 

* This patent and license were purchased by J. W. Clark, Esq., of Boston, and Charles Jackson, 
Esq., of Providence, who established a manufactory at Providence, where the business has been 
extensively and successfully prosecuted until the present time, under the firm of Isaac Hartshorn 
and Company. 

t Messrs. Luke Baldwin and John Haskins, who established a factory at Lynn, Mass., for the 
raanufacture of cloths and table-covers. This establishment was afterwards removed to Roxbury, 
where it was continued until Mr John Haskins engaged in the first manufacture of letter bands 
and elastics, by the vulcanizing process, under a license from the inventor. 

J This was purchased by Mr. Luther Clark, of Northampton, Mass., where the manufacture 
was established, and discontinued about a year afterwards. 


abandoned by the Eagle Company. Soon after this it was occu- 
pied by the writer, who employed him for the purpose of man- 
ufacturing life-preservers and other articles, by the acid gas and 
solarizing processes. About this time the writer purchased the 
claim of combining sulphur with India rubber, of Mr. Hayward, 
for which a patent was taken out February 24, 1839. It should 
be remarked that this claim was for the use of sulphur, and not 
for the heating or vulcanizing process, subsequently discovered 
by the writer. 

One remarkable fact relating to the use of sulphur with a sol- 
vent deserves to be noticed, and also the manner in which it 
was ascertained that its use by mixing the flour of sulphur with 
the gum, without a solvent, has a very different effect from that 
which is obtained by its use with a solvent. When a minute 
portion of it is put into the solvent, or when the solvent is 
impregnated with a quantity to the gallon so small as hardly 
to be appreciated in weight, the gum which is dissolved with it 
and spread thin upon cloth, when exposed to the sun for a single 
day, will dry up so that it may be rubbed off the cloth in a dry 
pov/der, whereas the sulphur in large quantity, or as much as 
half a pound to the pound of gum, (which either has or has 
not been dissolved,) may be mixed with it, and it will not be 
scorched in solarizing, or injured by exposure to the sun after- 
wards, for a great length of time.* 

From having the use of the only machinery with which the 
gum was worked at that time without a solvent, the writer made 
his first experiments with sulphur in that way, by which means 
he ascertained the results peculiar to the different ways of using 
the materials. It was his discovery and observation of this 
peculiar result, that led the writer to continue his experiments 
with sulphur, and to purchase the patent of Mr. Hayward.f 
notwithstanding its use was not considered advantageous or 
practicable by the Eagle company, or other manufacturers. He 

* These peculiar results, from the different methods of combining sulphur and gum-elastic, are 
considered worthy of notice, although neither of them are practiced by manufacturers at the 
present time. 

t Taken out at the suggestion of the writer. 


was, in fact, frequently cautioned by Mr. Hayward not to use it 
in the crude state, because its effects were so powerful when used 
in a minute quantity in the solvent. Mr. Chaffee had also tried 
it while with the Roxbury Company, and the effects were not 
deemed worthy of notice, either by that company or himself. 
At that time, previous to the introduction of the acid gas and 
vulcanizing process, the obnoxious odor of sulphur in the goods 
was an effectual barrier to their reception in the market. 

Another effect yet more remarkable in the treatment of gum- 
elastic, is that of the sun's rays upon it. When combined with 
sulphur, and exposed to the action of the sun, either in hot 
weather or cold, it becomes solarized, or divested of its adhesive 
quality ; whereas no other kind of light or heat has any similar 
effect, until the high degree of heat is applied to it, about 270°, 
which is used in vulcanizing. 

By the sale of the licenses before referred to, the inventor 
realized a few thousand dollars, which relieved him from his im- 
mediate embarrassment. He had, beside, the prospect of being 
well compensated for his past labors and trials, and was now 
comfortably situated, with a pleasant home for his family. His 
aged parents, and two younger brothers, all of whose fortunes 
had continued to decline, at this time joined him. The preju- 
dices of the public gave way, and his fortunes were altogether 
in the ascendant. 

At this period he made many novel and useful applications of 
this substance : among other fancy articles, he had newspapers 
printed on the gum-elastic drapery ; and the improvement, with 
its various applications, began to be highly appreciated. 

The merit of the improvement was, in some respects, over- 
rated. It was supposed by others, as well as himself, that a 
change was wrought throughout the mass of the goods acted 
upon by the acid gas, and that the whole body of the article 
was made better than the native gum. The surface of the goods 
really was so; and is always superior, even to that of heated 
or vulcanized. gum-elastic, with the application of this process. 
The gum is not, however, changed far below the surface, but the 


portion acted upon being very superior, and the interior equally 
as good as the native gum, the improvement, on the whole, 
gave satisfaction, and the inventor imagined that he had done 
all that could be done to improve the material. He therefore 
now entered, (as he thought,) upon a successful career for the 
future. A far different result, however, awaited him. While 
the invention, and the numerous applications of it were getting 
highly into favor with the public, he received an order from the 
Government for a considerable quantity of mail-bags. This 
fact was much known, and looked upon as a test of the utility 
of the improvement. If the mail-bags proved satisfactory, it 
was admitted that the invention would be completely success- 

They were being finished in the warm season, and were 
purposely exposed for inspection in his factory, which was much 
visited from motives of curiosity, but while he was absent a few 
weeks, they were discovered to be decomposing, and to be 
dropping off the handles. 

The inventor had been recently in the habit of using chromes, 
white lead, and vermilion, and a variety of articles for the pur- 
pose of producing colors ; some of which he used in the mail- 
bags, with the view of giving them a good leather color. These 
proved deleterious to the goods, as the manufacture was then 
conducted, and destroyed them.* The reputation of the acid 
gas process, upon which he wholly relied, had been theoretically 
established, and, it was supposed, fairly tested, previous to the 
decomposition of the mail-bags before alluded to. Since the 
true cause of the decomposition of the goods at that time has 
become known, it has been considered, as before, a real improve- 
ment, and is practiced in the manufacture in connection with 
the vulcanizing process, with great advantage. But at that time 
he relied too much upon its efficacy to change the character or 
properties of the gum, and to prevent the effects of other in- 

* These articles are not injurious when mixed and vulcanized with India rubber, but rather 
serve to facilitate the process, and had it not been for this misfortune from the use of these articles 
in all human probability the vulcanizing process would never have been discovered. 




gredients that are now known to cause fermentation or decom- 
position, when heat and sulphur are not used. 

Being desirous to beautify the fabrics with a variety of colors, 
the writer used metallic and other colors indiscriminately for 
this purpose. 

At this time, (intending to pursue the business as a man- 
ufacturer,) he commenced the manufacture of a variety of fancy 
articles, and several thousand life-preservers were made, which 
were sold and distributed through the country. These various 
articles were compounded with large quantities of white lead 
and other deleterious coloring matter, which caused them to de- 
compose after the lapse of a short time, and thus that which he 
had represented as a useful discovery, and which was so in fact, 
was pronounced by the public to be a complete failure. Instead 
of realizing the large fortune which, by all acquainted with his 
prospects, was considered certain, his whole invention would not 
bring him a week's living. Again he saw those dear to him, 
together with his aged parents, stripped of the comforts with 
which they were surrounded. Every thing that he possessed 
was brought to the hammer for the discharge of private bills. 

The inventor very soon became satisfied that the supposed 
failure of the invention was wholly in consequence of the color- 
ing materials used, but it was at that time useless to affirm it, 
and he did not attempt to reverse the sentence of pubhc opinion, 
because he was under the necessity of encountering the evils 
of the misfortune before he had an opportunity of making the 
real merits of the improvement known. The misfortune and 
disappointment of the writer by this occurrence was indeed 
serious. He was not only reduced to extreme poverty, with a 
large family to provide for ; but, if he continued his experiments, 
he could no longer expect the countenance or sympathy of his 
friends or acquaintance, as he had already spent four years in 
fruitless attempts to make improvements in the manufacture 
that had proved so ruinous to the community, having, as was 
generally known, applied himself industriously to his experiments 
during the whole time, doing nothing else. It was generally 




agreed that the man who could proceed further in a course of 
this sort, was fairly deserving of all the distress brought upon 
himself, beside being justly debarred the sympathy of others. 
And he was not unfrequently reminded that he could at any 
time improve his circumstances, by acting upon the advice of 
friends, to return to his former occupation of hardware. There 
was no longer any alternative for him, except to make choice of 
one of two ways — either to return to what others thought a 
respectable occu})ation, in order to support his family, or to sub- 
sist as he best could in his then embarrassed condition. 

The earnings of himself and family in the manufacture, by 
the common methods, of some small articles for which there was 
yet some demand, and the forlorn resort of the friendless and the 
destitute, — the pawnbroker's shop, — were his chief dependence. 

The parties before alluded to, to whom licenses had been sold 
for the acid gas process, were so much discouraged by these occur- 
rences, that no application could be made to them for assistance. 

The recollection of the losses that had been previously sus- 
tained, in the depreciation of India rubber stocks, was now 
revived afresh in the public mind, and it was useless to look to 
any individual in the community for funds to be used in this 
manufacture, so strong was the prejudice against it. 

The shares of the numerous companies that had failed with 
total loss of their capital, were so widely distributed, that their 
failure was indeed a public calamity ; and although the pecuniary 
interests of the public were in no way affected by the disappoint- 
ment of the inventor in the failure of his experiments, yet the 
effect of their disaffection, in consequence of their former losses, 
manifested in their distrust of every thing connected with the 
subject, was not only the cause of much chagrin to him at the 
time, but was also the chief hinderance to the introduction of 
his subsequent improvements. 

He was obliged, for the want of means, to discontinue man- 
ufacturing, and Mr. Hayward left his employment, and re- 
turned to the manufacture (on his own account) of various 
articles, after the method first practiced by the Roxbury com- 


pany and himself, in which he continued until about a year 
after the discovery of the vulcanizing process, of which he after- 
wards became one of the licensees, and proprietor of a shoe 
establishment at Colchester, Conn.* 

Frequent visits to the factory at Woburn became necessary, 
for the purpose of closing up and discontinuing the manufacturing 
operations at that place. The appeals of his friends were now 
presented with fair prospects in their favor, to persuade him to 
change his plans, and discontinue his experiments with the 

At this time, as well as on many former occasions, if the im- 
provement sought for had been one connected with machinery, 
or one, the prosecution of which depended upon the art of any 
human being, or upon any amount of capital beyond a few six- 
pences at a time, necessity would have compelled him to yield ; 
but so long as these could be obtained or hoped for, experiment 
could be continued, and the discovery made, as it was, in the 
most humble sphere. 

The inventor now applied himself alone, with unabated ardor 
and diligence, to detect the cause of his misfortune, and, if pos- 
sible, to retrieve the lost reputation of his invention ; and, as had 
happened on former occasions, he had hardly time enough to 
realize the extent of his embarrassment, before he became in- 
tently engaged with another experiment, and his mind buoyant 
with new hopes and expectations ; which, as it afterguards- 
proved, were to be, for this time at least, more than realized. 

While on one of the visits above alluded to, at the fac- 
tory at Woburn, and at the dwlttiin^ where 

whenever he visited the manufactory at^Woburn, the in- 
ventor made some experiments to ascertain the effect ofrieat 
upon the same compound that had decomposed in the mail-bags 
and other articles. He was surprised to find that the speci- 
men, being carelessly brought in contact with a hot stove, 
charred like leather. He endeavored to call the attention 
of his brother, as well as some other individuals who were 

* Under the firm of N. Hayward & Co. 


present, and who were acquainted with the manufacture of gum- 
elastic, to this effect, as remarkable, and unlike any before known, 
since gum-elastic always melted when exposed to a high degree 
of heat. The occurrence did not at the time appear to them to 
be worthy of notice ; it was considered as one of the frequent 
appeals that he was in the habit of making, in behalf of some 
new experiment. 

He however directly inferred that if the process of charring 
could be stopped at the right point, it might divest the gum of 
its native adhesiveness throughout, which would make it better 
than the native gum. Upon further trial with heat, he was fur- 
ther convinced of the correctness of this inference by finding 
that India rubber could not be melted in boiling sulphur at any 
heat ever so great, but always charred. 

He made another trial of heating a similar fabric, before an 
open fire. The same eflfect, that of charring the gum, followed ; 
but there were further and very satisfactory indications of ulti- 
mate success, in producing the desired result, as upon the edge 
of the charred portions of the fabric, there appeared a line, or 
border, that was not charred, but perfectly cured. 

He now removed with his family to Lynn, in order that he 
might have access to the steam power of Messrs. Baldwin & 
Haskins, for the purpose of trying experiments in vulcanizing by 

A few weeks after, he removed from Lynn to Woburn, where 
he now pursued his inquiries and experiments for some months 
quite alone, until the desired result was obtained. On ascertain- 
ing to a certainty that he had found the object of his search, and 
much more, and that the new substance was proof against cold, 
and the solvents of native gum, he felt himself amply repaid for 
the past, and quite indifferent as to the trials of the future. 

The facts have been stated precisely as they occurred in re- 
ference to the discovery of the acid gas, as well as the vulcan- 
izing process. The incidents attending the discovery of both 
have a strong resemblance, so much so, they may be considered 
parallel cases. It being now known that the results of the vul- 


canizing process are produced by means, and in a manner, 
which would not have been anticipated from any reasoning on 
the subject, and that they have not yet been satisfactorily ac- 
counted for, it has been sometimes asked how the inventor came 
to make the discovery. The answer has already been given. 
It may be added, that he was many years seeking to accomplish 
this object, and that he allowed nothing to escape his notice that 
related to the subject. Like the falling of an apple, it was 
suggestive of an important fact to one whose mind was previously 
prepared to draw an inference from any occurrence which 
might favor the object of his research. While the inventor ad- 
mits that these discoveries were not the result of scientific 
chemical investigations, he is not willing to admit that they were 
the result of what is commonly termed accident; he claims them 
to be the result of the closest application and observation. 

The discoloring and charring of the specimens proved nothing, 
and discovered nothing of value, but quite the contrary; for in 
the first instance, as stated of the acid gas improvement, the 
specimen acted upon was thrown away as worthless, and left for 
some time"; in the latter instance, the specimen that was charred 
was in like manner disregarded by others. 

It may, therefore, be considered as one of those cases where 
the leading of the Creator providentially aids his creatures by 
what are termed accidents, to attain those things which are not 
attainable by the powers of reasoning he has conferred on them. 

The discovery was now made, which, at the present day, is 
generally regarded as one of the most important improvements 
of the age, and justly so, when considered in connection with all 
the other improvements which are constantly being made from 
it, and depending upon the extraordinary properties of this 
article for their utility. It might, therefore, have been supposed 
that the embarrassments of the inventor would be at an end, 
and that the attention of the public would easily be drawn to the 
subject. This, however, was not the case. He had yet to wait 
two years in the most trying circumstances, before he could con- 
vince any one that a valuable discovery had been made. 


It was certain that nothing could be done to restore the 
confidence of the pubhc, in the vicinity of Boston, or to in- 
duce them to estabhsh the business for a long time to come, and 
it would have been useless to visit any other part of the country 
for this purpose, even if he had had the means, without specimens 
large enough to be used, so as to prove the utility of the inven- 
tion. There was, therefore, no alternative but to make such 
efforts as it was in his power to make to accomplish this object, 
in order to effect a change of place and circumstances. 

It had been the design of the inventor, previous to the disap- 
pointment which attended the acid gas process, to introduce it 
into Europe as soon as practicable ; and arrangements for this 
purpose wei'e in progi^ess, when proposals highly advantageous 
were made to him by the extensive manufacturing house of 
Messrs. Rattier & Guibal, for the introduction of the acid gas 
improvement into France. 

In reply, they were informed that newly discovered improve- 
ments had been made, and that as soon as they were sufficiently 
advanced for exhibition, the writer would avail himself of these 
proposals. The prosperous condition of the manufacture of 
gum-elastic in other countries, so far as it was known, was a 
great encouragement to proceed, and stimulated his efforts to 
obtain specimens where he then was. Those which had already 
been made were of small size, and were in appearance like 
samples of the common India rubber. The confident assurances 
which the inventor expressed, were also such as had been made 
in relation to successive improvements, during a period of several 
years, but which had resulted only in disappointment. It was, 
therefore, unreasonable to expect those with whom he was con- 
versant to attach much importance to his views of the case, 
although they might give him credit for sincerity. The great 
difficulty now was to bring the minds of others to appreciate the 
subject as he did himself The most that could be hoped for in 
the community where he then resided, was to get the improve- 
ment so far advanced, as to be able to present it in foreign 
countries, or in some other section of his own country. 


The narration of a few incidents will give a brief but correct 
idea of the discouragements, of which there was, during those 
two years, a constant repetition in one form or other. 

During the winter of 1839 — 40, a year after the writer was 
fully satisfied of the real value of his discovery, the greatest dis- 
couragements were met with. 

During one of those long and severe snow-storms, which 
in New England sometimes occur, when even those who 
are blessed with health are confined within doors, he found 
that his family were left without food or fuel. His feelings 
were, that the face of nature was a fit emblem of his con- 
dition — cold and cheerless ; but the recollection of a kind 
greeting received some time previous from an individual who 
resided some miles distant, and nearly a stranger, induced him, 
enfeebled by illness,, to make the attempt to reach his house 
through the storm. After being by turns exhausted by walking 
against the driving snow, and rested upon its drifts, he reached 
the dwelling of this individual,* and stated to him briefly his 
condition, and the hopes he entertained of success from his dis- 
covery, if he should ever be able to convince others of the facts 
relating to it. He was cordially received, and not only supplied 
with a sum adequate to his immediate wants, but also furnished 
with facilities for continuing his experiments on a small scale. 

The greater part of these facilities were applied during the 
winter in the manufacture of a set of military equipments, for 
specimens, with the intention of vulcanizing them as soon as an 
apparatus could be obtained for the purpose. Long before there 
was an opportunity of doing this, he found that the composition 
of the goods had so fermented that they could not be vul- 
canized. This was a result which it is now known will com- 
monly occur, when gum-elastic is worked with a solvent, and 
compounded with lead and sulphur, unless it is vulcanized soon 
after it is manufactured. Thus he had lost the labors of the 
winter without eflfecting the object of obtaining the specimens 

* O. B. Coolidge, Esq., Woburn, Mass , to ■whom a tribute of gratitude is due for the timely re- 
Tief afforded. 

pa . 


he desired. Without them it was certain that nothing could 
be done to restore the confidence of the pubhc, in the vicinity of 
Boston, or to induce them to estabhsh the business for a long 
time to come, and it would have been useless to visit any other 
part of the country for this purpose, even if he had had the means, 
without specimens large enough to test the utility of the invention. 

There was, therefore, no alternative but to continue his efforts 
to obtain specimens that would satisfy other minds, before he 
could hope to effect a change in his circumstances by a change 
of place ; and it seemed absolutely necessary that these speci- 
mens should be such as might be tested by actual service. Like 
iron or steel, the quality of gum-elastic could not then, and can- 
not even now, be known by the appearance of its surface. 

Those which had already been made were of small size, and 
. were in appearance like samples of the common India rubber. 
The confident assurances which the inventor expressed, were also 
such as had been made in relation to other supposed improve- 
ments during a period of several years, but which had resulted 
only in disappointment. It was, therefore, unreasonable to ex- 
pect those with whom he was conversant, to attach much im- 
portance to his views of the case, although they might give him 
credit for sincerity. The great difficulty now was to bring the 
minds of others to appreciate the subject as he did himself. 
The most, therefore, that could be hoped for in the community 
where he then resided, was to get the improvement so far 
advanced, as to be able to present it in foreign countries, or in 
some other section of his own country.* 

* The prosperous condition of the manufacture of the native gum in other countries, was a great 
encouragement to proceed, and stimulated his efforts to obtain specimens where lie then was. 

It had been the design of the inventor, previous to tlie disappointment which attended the acid 
gas process, to introduce that process into Europe as soon as practicable : and arrangements for 
this purpose were in progress, when proposals highly advantageous were made to him by the ex- 
tensive manufacturing house of Messrs. Rattier & Guibal, Paris, for the introduction of that im- 
provement into France. 

These proposals were made through Mr. Wm B. Draper, of New York, who had for a long 
time resided, as a merchant, in Paris, and through him the reply was made in 1840, that the 
writer had discovered the heating or vulcanizing process, which would probably supersede the 
acid gas improvement, and would delay his visit to Paris. 

Ten years subsequent have been devoted by the inventor to perfecting the vulcanizing procese, 
and various improvements growing out of it, having it in view to introduce them into Europe 
when perfected. 



That such indifference to this discovery, and many incidents 
attending it, could have existed in an inteUigent and benevolent 
community, can only be accounted for by existing circumstances 
in that community. The great losses that had been sustained in 
the manufacture of gum-elastic ; the length of time the inventor 
had spent in what appeared to them to be entirely fruitless 
efforts to accomplish any thing with it ; added to his recent mis- 
fortunes and disappointments, all conspired, with his utter desti- 
tution, to produce a state of things as unfavorable to the promul- 
gation of the discovery as can well be imagined. 

He, however, felt in duty bound to beg in earnest, if need be, 
sooner than that the discovery should be lost to the world and to 
himself. That there was real danger of such loss, subsequent 
events abundantly prove. In the event of the writer's death, 
it could hardly be expected that his theory, which he afterwards 
found it so difficult to establish, could survive him. The inven- 
tion was fully appreciated by him at that time, and was considered 
as valuable as it now proves to be. His inability to convince 
others of the truth of his assertions, or to bring them to compre- 
hend the importance of the subject, caused intense anxiety as to 
the results, and produced a state of mind such as could have 
been ill endured, but for the excitement caused by efforts to sur- 
mount the obstacles he met with. 

Want of sympathy, want of means to go forward with experi- 
ments, or even to provide sustenance from day to day for those 
dependent upon him, only increased the solicitude consequent 
upon the state of suspense as to the result of those efforts. 

How he subsisted at this period, charity alone can tell, for it 
is as well to call things by their right names, and it is little else 
than charity, when the lender looks upon what he parts with as 
a gift. The pawning or selling some relic of better days, or 
some article of necessity, was a frequent expedient. His library 
had long since disappeared, but shortly after the discovery of 
this process, he collected and sold at auction the school books 
of his children, which brought him the trifling sum of five dol- 
lars ; small as the amount was, it enabled him to proceed. At 


this step he did not hesitate. The occasion, and the certainty 
of success, warranted the measure, which, in other circumstances, 
would have been sacrilege. The inventor had now grounds of 
assurance, which had never existed with regard to previous im- 

The discovery was made in winter, and the specimens did not 
stiffen by cold. Summer returned, and they were not softened 
by heat. There could be no danger on this score, as they were 
made by a heat of two hundred and seventy degrees. The next 
thing of importance to be done, was to manufacture specimens 
of sufficient size to satisfy others of the importance of the inven- 
tion by a trial of the goods. He was not, at first, aware of the 
difficulty that existed in the way of operating the process on a 
large scale. The specimens which he had thus far produced, 
were from the thinner sort of fabrics, which could be heated be- 
fore an open fire. To heat a specimen of any considerable size 
or thickness in this way, proved to be impracticable, on account 
of the blistering of the gum. This difficulty subsequently caused 
great loss in the establishment of the manufacture by the various 

In the course of the spring of 1839 he had succeeded in 
manufacturing some specimens tolerably perfect, and heating 
them before an open fire with the brushwood which the kind- 
ness of his neighbors allowed him to gather in the field, not 
being able during that summer to supply himself with more sub- 
stantial fuel. Upon the exhibition of these specimens, and the 
earnestness of his appeals, some individuals were induced to 
assist him in building a brick oven, about six feet square, and 
also to manufacture some full pieces of the fabric. These were 
made by the machinery for the liquid gum, so that before they 
could be finished and heated, (the weather being warm,) the 
goods fermented, and they could not be vulcanized. This is a 
peculiarity of the vulcanizing process, remarked upon under the 
head of Dissolving, page . In this way the capital, which had 
been provided for this express purpose, three times in succession, 
was exhausted. The cause of fermentation not being known, 

P);^^— — ■ — — — — — 



the effort to obtain larger specimens was at last relinquished, 
and he was compelled to take with him to New York those sam- 
ples only which had been heated before an open fire in his 
dwelling. With these specimens he now endeavored to get to 
New York, having no hope of being listened to where he then 

He had the assm'ance from an individual formerly in his em- 
ployment, that on coming to Boston he would lend him fifty 
dollars, whereby his family could be maintained in his absence, 
and his expenses paid to New York. Arriving in Boston he 
was disappointed in this. He remained at a hotel from Monday 
until Saturday, hoping to obtain from some source the sum re- 
quired. He at last applied where he had reason to expect it, 
for the sum of five dollars, with which he might return to his 
family ; this was refused. At night his bill at the hotel was 
presented. Mortified and chagrined, he walked, meditating on 
his condition until late at night. He strayed into East Cam- 
bridge, and stopped at the house of a friend, who received him 
kindly and made him comfortable for the night. Early next 
morning he walked ten miles to his home, and was met at the 
door by one of the family, saying that his youngest boy, two 
years of age, who was in perfect health when he left home, was 
then dying. He thanked God for being turned back to the rescue 
of his family, for they had already been denied the subsistence 
promised by a dealer when he left. 

The inventor then represented, by letter, the situation of his 
family, to a gentleman in Boston, a sincere friend, by whom he 
was confident that he could not be refused, and was not. He 
received from him the sum of seven dollars, out of regard, as he 
said, for his family, with a severe reprimand for himself for not 
turning his attention to some occupation that would support them. 
A stranger to the inventor, who happened to be at his friend's 
ofl[ice, upon the receipt of his letter, forwarded to him a barrel 
of flour, which was indeed a timely relief and source of heartfelt 

He next addressed a letter to a relation in a distant part of 


the country.* From him he received the sum of fifty dollars. 
This enabled him to get to New York, and to lay the subject 
before Mr. William Rider, a gentleman to whom he was intro- 
duced for the first time on his arrival there. An arrangement 
was soon made, by which Mr. Rider engaged to furnish capital 
to conduct the manufacture on joint account. 

To the firmness and perseverance of Mr. William Rider, to- 
gether with the skill and assiduity of his brother, Mr. Emory 
Rider, under a series of obstacles which this new manufacture 
encountered for several years, more than to the amount of the 
pecuniary aid rendered, the inventor feels indebted for a share 
of his success. From him he received a sufficient amount of 
funds for the comfort of his family, and sufficient to enable 
him to proceed, in a small way, with his experiments. Thus he 
continued for about a year, when the failure of his friend again 
left him without resources. He had, however, made some ad- 
vance towards demonstrating the utility of his improvements, 
although he found it nearly impossible to get over the difficulties 
which he met with in the way of heating the goods with 

In the fall of 1841, before the failure of Mr. Rider, the inven- 
tor commenced operations in Springfield, Mass., having a short 
time previously succeeded in manufacturing some few yards of 
the elastic compound in sheets, and in heating them uniformly. 
This was done by passing them through a heated cast-iron 
trough, represented in the drawing, plate . This was the first 
successful operation of vulcanizing. At this time, also, he in- 
vented the shirred or corrugated goods, which have since been 
so famous, both on account of their intrinsic merit and on ac- 
count of the numerous suits at law of which they have been the 
subject. Having shirred some elegant ribbons, they attracted 
the notice of a brother-in-law,* an extensive woolen manufac- 
turer, and through him, the notice of the public. By the aid and 
kindness of this individual, who, for a time, furnished the means 
to conduct the manufacture, the inventor was enabled gradually 

* William Deforest, Esq. 


to proceed with his improvements. While at this place he was 
again thrown into prison for debt, which influenced him to avail 
himself of a release under the odious bankrupt law, about ten 
days before its repeal. This law he had always opposed, and 
firmly resolved not to accept of any of the advantages it offered, 
but the provocation, in this instance, was such that his resolu- 
tion gave way ; and, as things terminated, he has never had 
cause to regi'et his change of purpose, since, very shortly after 
this, his invention began to be appreciated ; and, together 
with the success of the shirred goods before alluded to, 
enabled him to do justice to his creditors, notwithstanding his 
discharge in bankruptcy. Since that time to the present, he 
has had no occasion to complain of hard fortune, having con- 
tinued his experiments and improvements according to the 
plan specified in another chapter, appropriating the receipts 
from his invention as they have accrued, to the purposes there 
stated. These means have been almost as inadequate for the 
object in view, as those which he formerly had were for the 
comfort of himself and family, and for his experiments before his 
success in the chief discovery. The want of pecuniary facili- 
ties has caused much delay in his course, which undoubtedly has 
had the effect to make the whole system much more complete 
than it would have been if he had possessed ample means. Al- 
though sometimes disheartened by the apparent loss of time from 
these hindrances, the inventor has, on the whole, good reason to 
be reconciled to these temporary delays, being well aware that 
the law of necessity in one form or other, is the only one under 
which invention will thrive or accomplish much. Millions 
might have been spent without effecting any thing in comparison 
with what has been done. Money is indispensable for the per- 
fecting of improvements, but it is trial and necessity chiefly that 
are eftectual in bringing to light things that are hidden ; in other 
words, however indispensable money may be to carry out an en- 
terprise, or perfect the improvements of an inventor, it will avail 
but little in bringing to hght that which is unknown, especially 
where the subject cannot be approached by any known laws of 



In this case, at least, it has been necessity, caused by the 
desire to obtain the means of discharging Habilities, and moral 
as well as pecuniary obligations, with the ambition of making 
these inventions worthy of this age of improvements, that has 
stimulated the inventor to proceed, step by step, to the comple- 
tion of his plan. 



The sole object sought after by numerous experimenters. The success of the author. The 
method of vulcanizing. Remarkable and very useful properties developed by the process. 
Availabihty and supply of the raw material. 

As early as the year 1800, wherever the properties of India 
rubber became known and appreciated, it became a subject of 
much inquiry and experiment, to ascertain if there was any way 
by which it could be dissolved, and afterwards restored to its 
original state. This was the ultimatum sought after, by great 
numbers who occupied themselves in experiments with it, espe- 
cially those of the medical profession, as well as by the writer in 
all his early experiments. It was not thought of or expected, 
(certainly not by the writer,) materially to improve upon the 
original good qualities of the gum. The object of the experi- 
ments was limited to the restoring of it to its original state, but 
even this was almost despaired of; hardly an approach to that 
effect could be made except with ether as a solvent, which was 
too expensive for any practical purpose. The success of the 
inventor, in imparting to gum-elastic new and valuable properties, 
and at the same time retaining all the useful qualities it pos- 
sessed before, has not ceased to be matter of surprise to mankind, 
wherever it has become known. 

This substance, aside from the difficulty of managing it chem- 
ically, was in its native state as wonderful and mysterious as 
any in nature, and it is rendered yet more wonderful, by the 
change wrought in it by this discovery. 

A more particular description of the new properties thereby 
imparted to it is given in the following chapter, but a few gen- 

(@^3 ^ • 


eral comparisons or illustrations in this place may serve to give 
some persons a more correct idea of the nature of the results 
produced by the discovery of the process of vulcanizing, or 
heating, as it was first called by the inventor. 

The change wrought in the native gum by this process may 
with propriety be compared to that which is wrought in a per- 
ishable skin or hide, by the process of tanning, which converts 
it into a beautiful kid, or substantial leather ; or to that by which 
the crude ore is changed, by the process of smelting, into valua- 
ble iron for man's use ; or to that by which iron is changed by 
the well known process of baking with carbon, into steel. This 
latter comparison holds good, not only as to the results, but also 
as to the method, except that instead of carbon, sulphur is used 
in the baking process, treated of for vulcanizing the gum, 
which is penetrated by sulphur after it has taken the form of a 
gas, a high degree of heat being used in both cases. One 
remarkable fact is exhibited by this improvement, which is an 
apparent anomaly in chemistry. An article is obtained which 
is not dissolved without great difficulty, by the best known sol- 
vents of gum-elastic, which yet possesses all the valuable proper- 
ties of the native gum, and many others that the native gum 
does not possess. It will be readily perceived, that the effect 
of this process is not simply the improvement of a substance ; 
but it amounts, in fact, to the production of a netv material. The 
durability imparted to gum-elastic by the heatmg or vulcan- 
izing process, not only improves it for its own peculiar and 
legitimate uses, but also renders it a fit substitute for a variety 
of other substances where its use had not before been contem- 
plated. It may, at first thought, appear absurd to compare 
the durability of an article like gum-elastic, with that of metal 
or wood, yet it will be found upon investigation, that in con- 
sequence of its resistance of corrosion and decay, it is, for 
certain purposes, far more durable than either of these, as has 
been found by actual trial. Nitric acid quickly destroys iron, 
brass, copper, &c. Potash destroys leather, and wood. Some 
fabrics are rendered unfit for use, by coming in contact with 


grease, tar, &c., and others damaged, or destroyed, even by 
water ; but none of these agents injure the fabrics, which are 
known under the name of the metallic, or "vulcanized fabrics." 
It has now been proved, by several years' experience in its use, 
that by this discovery, a substance is produced, possessing all 
the valuable properties of gum-elastic in the highest degree of 
perfection, without the imperfections pertaining to the native 
gum, which must have prevented gum-elastic ever being applied 
to many purposes of great utility, for which, by the removal of 
its objectionable qualities, it is now made available. 

When a new material is in any way made available to the 
arts and manufactures, it is impossible to set bounds to its appli- 
cation, or to the extent of the benefits to be derived from it. ■ 

Where the supplies of the material are obtained, as is the 
case with the India rubber, from regions that for various reasons 
can never be extensively cultivated ; where the spontaneous 
productions of nature are profuse, and where the inhabitants of 
such regions appear incapable of higher effort and enterprise 
than is required simply to gather those productions ; there are 
good reasons for anticipating additional advantages from an 
improvement, other than mere usefulness in its application. 
The indirect advantages which are derived from it, in the 
extension of commerce, and advancement of the general, mutual 
interests of mankind, are many. 

It would appear that some portions of the earth are designed, 
in the economy of Providence, to furnish these abundant sup- 
plies of nature's spontaneous productions, to be improved in 
civilized life, in countries where nature is less bounteous, and 
art is more prolific. 

In view of the vast increase in the consumption of gum-elas- 
tic, the question is frequently asked, " can the supply be kept 
up ?" The answer has already been given, and it may be fur- 
ther said that it appears to be so ordered, in the wisdom of 
Providence, that those things which are indispensable to the 
comfort and happiness of man, are most abundant and most 
easily obtained. The truth of this is exemplified in the abund- 


ant supply of coal for fuel, of iron among the metals, for tools 
and implements, and in the abundance and cheapness of glass 
ware. What is also remarkable is, that it appears that various 
substitutes for things in use are frequently discovered just at the 
time when the articles become scarce ; and what is yet more 
remarkable, the substitutes which are discovered often answer a 
better purpose than the article originally used. 

This remark will apply particularly to coal, as a substitute for 
wood ; to vegetable oils, gas, and lard oil, as substitutes for whale 
oil ; and why may we not extend the comparison to gum-elastic, 
and say that by this discovery we have received a vegetable 
leather as a substitute, to some extent, for animal leather, gum- 
elastic vellum for parchment, and for certain uses at least, such 
as umbrellas, oil-silks, &c., a vegetable silk for that spun by 
insects ? 

N. B. A distinctive and singular feature in this discovery, 
and one that is deserving of special notice, is this, that heat, 
which is one of the two principal agents which produce the 
desired result, melts every kind of caoutchouc at a compara- 
tively very low temperature. The heat of the sun's rays will 
melt them, while, with the presence of the other agent, that of 
sulphur, the great change is wrought in the caoutchouc, and the 
improvement is completed, at the high temperature of nearly 



Characteristics of the native gum. Goodyear's heated or vulcanized India rubber ; its elasticity ; 
pliability ; durability ; insolubility ; unalterability ; inadhesiveness ; impermeability ; plasticity ; 
facility of printing, and of being ornamented by painting, bronzing, gilding, japanning, and mix- 
ing with colors ; non-electric property ; odor. Test of vulcanized and unvulcanized gum- 

In order to have a correct understanding of w^hat the im- 
provement consists in, which is treated of in this w^ork, as exist- 
ing in such a variety of forms and aspects, it will be necessary 
to bear in mind, what are the properties and defects of the gum 
in its native state, as heretofore described under the head of 
Native Gum-elastic ; and also that the utility of the numerous 
fabrics and applications of this improvement depends upon the 
change wrought in the gum by the vulcanizing process ; that the 
cheapness of the production, and the durability of many of the 
articles, depends upon the mechanical improvement of the lamin- 
ated fibrous fabrics. 

A description of the method by which the change is wrought 
in the gum, and the causes which led to its accomplishment, 
have been heretofore given. The properties of the heated 
or vulcanized gum-elastic, will be better understood and appre- 
ciated, when contrasted with the defects and objections to the 
gum in its native state, which are these : — 1st. It becomes rigid 
and inflexible in cold weather. 2d. It is softened and decom- 
posed in the sun and hot weather. 3d. It is very soluble and 
quickly dissolved when brought in contact with any kind of 
grease, essential or common oils ; and though more slowly, yet 
as surely dissolved by perspiration. 4th. It is in its nature so 


very adhesive, that when any two surfaces are brought in con- 
tact, they become by sHght pressure one mass, that cannot be 
separated. 5th. It loses its elasticity by continued tension, or 
constant use. 6th. It has a very unpleasant odor. It has been 
long and fully proved, that these objections and defects render 
the native gum unfit for general purposes, as almost every article 
is exposed to come in contact with some one or more of the 
destructive agents mentioned. 


1st. Elasticity. 

2d. Pliability. 

3d. Durability. 

4th. Insolubility. 

5th. Unalterability by climate, or artificial heat or cold. 

6th. Inadhesiveness. 

7th. Impermeability to air, gases, and liquids. 

8th. Plasticity. 

9th. Facility of receiving every style of printing. 
1 0th. Facility of being ornamented by painting, bronzing, gild- 
ing, japanning, and mixing with colors. 
11th. Non-electric quality. 
12th. Odor. 


This property of the native gum is improved and increased, in 
the metallic or vulcanized article, both as regards strength and 
continuance ; besides, it is hereby made available in all cli- 
mates, and in all circumstances, whereas the elasticity of the 
native gum is lost when frozen, or much exposed to the sun or 
great heat. The improvement in this respect becomes in- 


valuable, even if it were confined to the single application of 

The elasticity of this article is commonly viewed only with 
regard to elasticity by tension, but the elasticity of it by com- 
pression is, perhaps, the most important of the two, as it is in 
this way that it is applied to car and carriage-springs, to buffers, 
and to springs for door-locks, &c. 


The fabrics of this substance possess this property in the high- 
est degree, not being affected, or made rigid, by the greatest 
degree of cold, whereas the native gum becomes so hard and 
inflexible in coarse fabrics and heavy articles, in a cold climate, 
as to be quite unmanageable and useless. 

No other fabric is so completely flexible under all circum- 
stances, not even common woven cloth, for the reason, that 
when cloth is wet and exposed to cold, it becomes frozen, 
whereas these fabrics repelling water, continue pliable. 


This substance has been found to remain unchanged by time, 
whether kept in a wet or dry state. This statement is con- 
firmed by observation and experience during a period of several 
years. Neither is it known to be attacked by moth, or vermin 
of any kind. The reader may form a correct idea of the 
durability of this substance, when exposed to friction, from the 
durability of the soles of the overshoes in common use, upon 
which hardly an impression is made, by years of ordinary wear, 


4th. insolubility. 

It is not strictly true, as has been sometimes said, that this 
substance is absolutely insoluble, because it can be softened and 
even dissolved by powerful solvents of the gum, when heated 
and boiled, and it can be charred by being kept a long time in 
pure sulphuric or nitric acid ; but its power of resistance of the 
solvents, and all other destructive chemical agents, is truly great. 
The most delicate of the fabrics made of this material may be 
brought in contact, or immersed with impunity, in such chemical 
liquids as sulphuric or nitric acid, sulphuric ether, oil of turpen- 
tine, or any of the essential oils. Or they may be boiled in 
potash, lime, chloride of lime, soap-suds, &c., by which ordeal, 
so far from being injured, they are rather improved. In other 
words, it is either improved, or remains uninjured, when ex- 
posed to destructive agents, that destroy other fabrics, and 
even wood, leather, and the metals, such as iron, copper, and 


by climate and artificial heat or cold. 

Its endurance of artificial heat is very great, when com- 
pounded with particular reference to this quality, and with a 
larger proportion of sulphur than is ordinarily used, it will bear 
a heat of 300° Farenheit. If a higher degree of heat is applied, 
it chars, but does not melt. It may, therefore, be considered 
superfluous to say, that this substance will resist the heat of any 
climate ; and as has been stated under the head of pliability, it 
remains soft and pliable in any degree of cold. 



The great adhesiveness of the native gum, after being manu- 
factured and applied to use, v^as one of the chief objections 
to it. 

The heated or vulcanized gum is entirely free from this 
objection, having all the dryness of leather or cloth, and that 
which forcibly illustrates its inadhesive property, is the fact that 
no way is yet found to unite it firmly, even when it is desired ; 
and the art of making the fabrics adhere, after they are vulcan- 
ized, if one could be found, would be very valuable, since the 
fabrics might then be made up, and cemented by the purchaser, 
as well as the manufacturers. 

The property of inadhesiveness involves the important quality 
of cleanHness, and facility of being cleaned when soiled. In the 
perfection of this quality it resembles glass. 



This is a property of the native gum, which is fully re- 
tained in the vulcanized material, and in the " fabrics" gen- 
erally. It is improved for containing or resisting water and 
liquids, as it is not softened by them like the native gum, but it 
cannot be stated that it is more impervious to air and the 
gases than the native gum. 


One of the properties of this material, which contributes 
primarily as much as any other to enhance its value to man- 


kind, is its native adhesive properties and plastic nature, before 
being subjected to the process of vulcanizing. It is so very 
plastic, that the labor and expense of working it into almost any 
article, or form, becomes barely nominal, for which reason, when 
substituted for many other things, such as shoes, heavy harness, or 
leather trunks, where the leather has to be stitched to form the 
article, this material has a very great advantage on the score of 
economy. The facility with which it is thrown into any form, 
or moulded in any shape, is not surpassed by wax, or by lead, 
or any other of the soft metals. The parts of any article made 
of it, and of all the fabrics before being vulcanized, adhere upon 
the slightest touch, and upon slight pressure with hand tools, or 
the fingers even, the parts become one mass, so that the seams, 
without a stitch, become the strongest part of the article, for the 
reason that they are the thickest. The labor of manufacturing 
some ptain articles, is often less than the pasting of paper would 
be. The reader may form an idea of the readiness with 
which it yields to the will of the operative, from the fact that 
one girl will make up twenty, and even more, pairs of shoes, or 
five coats, in one day. 

9th. facility of PRINTING IN EVERY STYLE. 

It is printed by steel and copper-plates, in lithography, and 
with types, without requiring to be dampened like paper, 
and with a delicacy and perfection, which is said not to be 
equalled by the finest tissue or proof-paper. 



It is printed in oil or block printing, with much greater facility 
than oilcloths, because it is softer, and it retains oil-painting 



better than canvas, because it does not crack. It is bronzed 
and gilded as easily, and with the same effect, as wood or 
leather. It is japanned like leather, and forms a ground for 
japanned fabrics, that will not crack like the paint ground 
ordinarily used. It is mixed with any color that is desired in 
the manufacture, and the color remains unfading. When 
painted or ornamented with India rubber, mixed with colors in 
a liquid state, or mixed with colors when the gum is in a plastic 
state, the colors being incorporated with the material, become 
as indestructible as the fabric itself 


This substance is one of the best non-conductors of elec- 
tricity, and it is but reasonable to suppose that advantages may 
be derived from some of the fabrics in connection with electric 
machines, on account of this property. An anecdote is told of 
a professor, who, having highly charged an electric machine 
while wearing India rubber shoes, and standing on the wire, 
upon taking them off, and resuming his position, he was con- 
vinced of their non-electric property, by being knocked down 
without them. 


12th. ODOE, 

The vulcanized India rubber is, to a very great extent, freed 
from the natural offensive odor of the native gum. There has 
been heretofore so great an objection to all India rubber goods 
on account of their odor, and the removing of it has been a 
thing so difficult to accomplish, that the inventor does not choose 
to express an opinion with regard to the perfection of this im- 
provement. He does not profess to have made even these 
fabrics unexceptionable to all persons, as it is clearly a matter 
of which no one can judge for another. To such persons as are 
particularly sensitive, and to all who have occasion to use either 
these or vulcanized gum-elastic fabrics, it may be a satisfaction 
to know that the articles are greatly improved by age, and that 
the odor of other things with which they are placed in contact 
is readily imparted to them, and when they are perfumed, or ex- 
posed to the fumes of burning coffee, or other aromatic sub- 
stances, or if only placed in contact with them for a short time, 
the new odor is imparted and retained so as to predominate over 
that of the gum for a great length of time. 

As it appears to be rendered certain that a great variety of 
articles manufactured from gum-elastic must come into general 
use, it is to be hoped that this objection is now so far removed 
that the goods will not be particularly objectionable on account 
of their odor. However this may be, it is certain that offensive 
odors become less objectionable where they necessarily exist, and 
that the sense of smell, like that of hearing, becomes insensible 
to those annoyances from which it cannot be protected. Al- 
though this rule is not without exception, it holds in most cases, 
and is strikingly exemplified in numerous occupations, among 
which might be instanced that of the druggist and tanner. 

The patient endurance of the offensive odor of soiled bank 
notes and of leather, afford illustrations of the effect of necessity 
and habit. 


Many articles which are in common use are by no means 
inodorous because they are supposed to be so. Wearing apparel 
or household stuff, particularly woolen, ever so neatly kept, 
would be found to be filled with odors offensive to any person 
unaccustomed to their use. 

It is but reasonable to suppose that the objectionable odor 
which exists in gum-elastic, and which it has seemed impossible 
to overcome, will sooner or later be removed. Notwithstanding 
the constant failures to accomplish this object would almost lead 
one to despair of attaining it, and although nothing may yet have 
been done to warrant the expectation, the writer believes the 
thing which is so desirable and important will be attained. 
There is at least some ground for expecting this, from the fact 
that substances in general which are indispensable to the com- 
fort and welfare of mankind, however imperfect they may be, 
are yet so made as not to offend the senses, and it may be hoped 
that such will be the result as relates to gum-elastic. 


Camphene or turpentine, and also oil of sassafras, and all the 
essential oils, are as sure tests of the quality of gum-elastic, as 
nitric acid is of the genuineness of gold. As the native gum, 
and also the common manufacture of gum-elastic, have the same 
general appearance to those who are not acquainted with the 
manufacture and are not judges of the goods, as those that are 
vulcanized or solarized, these tests are necessary, not only to 
decide whether the goods are genuine, but also to ascertain 
whether those that are vulcanized or solarized are properly done. 
When these tests are applied to any fabric or cloth of native 
gum, they are rendered very adhesive, and so quickly, as to 
destroy any light fabric almost immediately ; while they have no 
effect to make goods that are either well vulcanized or solarized 



at all adhesive, — if it does so they are not well manufactured, — 
although all the fabrics, except the hard compounds, when long 
immersed in these oils, become swollen, yet they are not adhe- 
sive, and when the essential oil has evaporated, they again re- 
sume their original size. 




Steam and water-power. Capital. Machinery. Cutting and washing machine. Compounding. 
Crushing and grinding machine. Warming machine. Spreading. Manufacture by dissolving. 
Manipulation. Heating. Solarization. Curing or tanning. Cleansing the goods. Peforating. 
Napping. Embossing. Japanning, bronzing, printing with type, copperplate, blocks, litho- 
graphy, &c. Gilding. Plating. Cording. Thread cutting. Shirring. Moulding. Hollow- 
ware moulds. Concluding remarks. 

The manufacture of India rubber goods by the process of 
heating, or vulcanizing, having become extensively known and 
practiced, especially in the United States, it is not supposed 
that more than a general description of the process, and the art 
of manufacturing the articles, will be considered interesting. 

It is not believed that the interests of those licencees who 
have engaged in the manufacture in a legal and honorable way, 
by acknowledging the claims of the inventor, will be injuriously 
affected by the circulation of information on the subject, but 
that the legal advantages which they possess, and the skill 
already acquired, will be amply sufficient to guarantee to them 
the departments of the business in which they have respectively 

Although no important fact has been withheld relating to the 
different processes in the manufacture, it is evident that no 
instructions or recipe can be given that will serve instead of ex- 
perience. No branch of industry is more fascinating and in- 
teresting when learned, and no one can be more perplexing or 
intricate before skill is acquired in, it, than this. 

One of the first questions of importance with regard to any 
branch of industry in which numbers of operatives are em- 
ployed, is, whether it is a healthful one. 

In answer, it may be said, as relates to gum-elastic in general, 
that no occupation is more so. It is important, however, that 



those who tend the dry heaters, or ovens, and those who cure 
with the acid gas, should be careful not to inhale the gases more 
than is absolutely necessary ; those, also, who tend the grinders 
when lead is used, should take the precaution that is always 
necessary when this material is worked. The operatives, 
however, that work in these departments, form but a very small 
part of the number in any establishment, and for all others em- 
ployed, it is more than ordinarily healthful. 


The same difference of opinion exists relating to the com- 
parative advantages of water or steam power in this, as in 
other branches of manufacturing. There is, however, one 
advantage in favor of steam for this, which does not exist in 
some other manufactures, which is the use in it of steam exten- 
sively for other purposes besides the moving power, such as 
heating the callenders and grinders, vulcanizing and cleansing 
the goods, &c. It is, however, of much less account what kind 
of power is used than what amount. 

So long as the limited way of operating is the only one be- 
lieved in, and the only one called for by the wants of the com- 
munity, it is necessarily the true way, and the wise one, for 
the time being ; but it may be hoped that ere long, the merits 
of this growing manufacture will be so far appreciated as to 
bring to its aid, not only adequate machinery and power, but, 
also, corresponding capital. When this time arrives, a reduction 
will be made in the first cost of many of the articles, (the heavy 
ones in particular,) which will surprise the manufacturers them- 

On this head the writer has ever felt a degree of solicitude 
and impatience, but must console himself by the reflection, that 
every extensive branch of industry has small beginnings ; that 
spinning-wheels were used before cotton mills, and horses and 
carts before locomotives and rail cars. 



It is often a matter of inquiry, what amount of capital is neces- 
sary to establish this manufacture. Owing to the plastic nature 
of the gum, and the simple construction of the machinery with 
which it may be worked, it can be conducted with a very small 
amount of capital. The Indian carries it on with the capital 
which nature affords him. Although the process of vulcanizing 
renders it somewhat more complicated, it may be prosecuted on 
a small scale to some advantage. Extensive water and steam 
power, with a large amount of capital, have been, however, 
recommended in other parts of this volome, as absolutely neces- 
sary for the most advantageous and profitable prosecution of this 
business. When the manufacture is favored with these advan- 
tages, the inducement to engage in it on a small scale will hardly 
exist. A more definite answer may, however, be made to the 
inquiry, upon which further estimates may be formed by any one, 
by taking the cost of a single set of machinery, the labor it per- 
forms, and the room it will occupy. The existing state of things 
is a suitable one upon which to make these estimates. A full 
set of machinery, such as is now employed for coating cloths, 
or manufacturing the fibrous fabrics, sufficient to turn off from 
one thousand to fifteen hundred yards per day, will cost, when 
put in working condition, about three thousand dollars. A base- 
ment, or a building of one story, thirty by twenty feet, is ample 
room for this purpose. Where the fabrics are made up into arti- 
cles, (especially if a variety of articles are made up at the same 
establishment,) more room is necessary than is needed to make 
the same articles of other materials, on account of the adhesive- 
ness of the fabrics. There are two advantages pertaining to 
this manufacture, that can hardly be said to exist in any other 
mechanical or manufacturing branches to the same extent. 
The first is, that there is not necessarily a particle of waste of 
materials ; all the cuttings, and even the sweepings of the fac- 


tories, are worked into gum-elastic felt for packing, shoe soles, &c. 
The other advantage is, that in this business the same tools are 
employed for its various branches, and the same operatives can 
be turned from making one description of articles to another, 
without delay or expense ; and a female who is employed as a 
maker of garments one day, may become the next a good trunk- 
maker, harness, or shoe-maker. 


The machinery employed in the manufacture of India rubber, 
since the first attempts to work it, has been subjected to varia- 
tion and gradual improvement. Numerous expedients and di- 
vers machines were early tried for chopping, grinding, and 
spreading the gum, and also for flowing it in a liquid or semi- 
liquid state, which have been abandoned. 

For many years the gum was only worked, after first being 
brought to a liquid, or semi-liquid state, by the solvents, such as 
turpentine or naphtha ; and although this method is still used 
for the plated and fibrous fabrics and thin sheets of drapery, 
and for the finer and more delicate fabrics, it is otherwise 
wholly abandoned in America, where the vulcanizing process is 
used, and the machines now in common use, in which heat and 
pressure are employed, are substituted, for the purpose of 
crushing and spreading the gum. 

It is now generally agreed by manufacturers in this business, 
that the machinery, or at least the principle of it, is perfect. It 
is hazardous to express an opinion, in this age of improvements, 
that any machinery or thing is perfect ; but the best reason for 
believing that this machinery does not admit of further improve- 
ment in principle, is that no complaint is made of it. It is of 
the simplest kind, doing the work with great rapidity, although 
it requires great mechanical power, owing to the toughness and 
tenacity of the gum. 


The representations in the drawing are deemed sufficient to 
give the reader a very correct idea of the manner in which the 
gum is reduced by grinding to the plastic state, and is afterwards 
spread by callenders. 


This is performed with the machine represented by No. 1. This 
machine is the same as that used by paper-makers in cutting rags. 
It is simply a large vat, twelve feet long by four broad, and two 
feet deep ; over this runs a shaft, upon which is a large drum or 
cylinder, about two feet in diameter, running on one side of the 
interior of the vat: this drum is furnished with shears or knives 
set in it, and other knives are set in the bottom of the vat. When 
revolving, this drum creates a current in the water under and be- 
tween its shears. The bottles, shoes, or masses of gum, are first 
chopped with a hatchet, or cut with circular knives, into pieces of 
from one inch to three inches square. About five hundred pounds 
of the gum in this state is put into the vat at once, which is 
passed continuously between the shears of the revolving cutter 
and its bed, so that in the course of about four hours the 
whole mass is cut quite fine, and cleansed from bark, clay, 
&c., as far as possible, at which time it is ready for crushing or 

By the use of this engine the scraps of the factories, which 
were formerly considered entirely worthless, are now worked into 
the valuable fabric described as felt, used for steam packing, shoe 
soles, &;c. A large proportion of imported India rubber, especially 
of the India gum, was nearly useless, from the quantity of bark in 
it, until this engine came into use. The attention of the writer 
was first drawn to this engine by the following incident. On 
examining an India rubber belt, which was put into a paper-mill 
on trial, the proprietor complained to him that the India rubber 
which came from suspenders, mixed in the rags, damaged his 


paper. Upon being further questioned, he brought a little parcel 
of the gum, about as fine as mustard seed, which was separated 
from the rags by the engine. The idea was suggested to the 
writer that the same operation would cut and cleanse India 
rubber. It was tried, and found completely successful, in all 
cases, as a labor-saving machine, and indispensable in the 
manufacture, when the gum is mixed with foi^eign substances. 


It is important to observe, first of all, that the sulphur, lead, 
or other articles that are compounded with the gum, should be 
pure, and free from acid, otherwise the gases that are generated 
in heating, will cause the gum to blister ; and when these sub- 
stances, however pure, are compounded with dissolved gum, and 
especially with liquid cement, it should be used soon after it is 
mixed, and when the weather is very warm, or when it is kept 
in a warm room, within a day or two, otherwise it will ferment, 
and cannot be vulcanized. Ignorance of these particulars nearly 
prevented, for a considerable time, any practical applications of 
the discovery of vulcanizing being made by the inventor. Still 
greater caution is necessary when camphine or spirits of tur- 
pentine is used for dissolving the gum, for though it be obtained 
perfectly pure, yet if it is exposed to the atmosphere, or left to 
stand for a length of time, it becomes acid and unfit for dis- 
solving gum-elastic. It was owing to this circumstance that 
the goods first manufactured in the United States were much 
worse, and the losses were much greater, than they other- 
wise would have been ; and a want of proper care with regard 
to these various particulars, was the cause of many accidents, 
and much loss to those persons who first engaged in the manu- 
facture of vulcanized gum-elastic, especially when dissolved 
gum was used. 

Gum-elastic can be readily mixed or combined with almost 


every other substance. It may be mixed with other gums, oils, 
coal-tar carbon, and with the earths and oxides, or pulverized 
metals and ores ; and it can be combined with all fibrous sub- 
stances, although it is not made like some of the gums, to ad- 
here firmly to any smooth surface of metal or wood, or even of 
cloth. It is compounded in the manufacture with many of the 
above substances, for the purpose of obtaining particular advan- 
tages for special uses. Lampblack is often used to cause the 
gum to endure the effects of the sun and weather. Ground cork 
and other light substances are sometimes combined with the 
gum, to increase the bulk and make the articles light. 

Earths are used as color, for cheapness, and to increase the 
weight of the fabric, as in the case of carpeting. Bitumen and 
resin are sometimes used to give the articles a finish or high 
lustre. Oxides of some of the metals are used in the manufac- 
ture ; among these, white lead and litharge are commonly 
preferred. From two to four ounces of either of these metals 
to the pound of gum, cause the articles, and particularly those 
that are thick or massive, to be more readily changed, or vul- 
canized, and more completely, or with greater uniformity. 

In the process of vulcanizing, the sulphur is applied through 
the medium of heat, in different ways, for the manufacture of 
different articles or fabrics for different uses. It is sometimes 
mixed with the gum in the process of crushing or grinding the 
gum, in the proportion of half an ounce of sulphur to the pound 
of gum ; at other times it is dusted upon the goods in the form 
of flour of sulphur, before the goods are placed in the heater, or 
oven ; this is commonly done when the mixture contains white 
lead, or when the coat of gum is thin and the goods light, in 
which cases the gum is more easily penetrated or impregnated 
with the sulphur, without its being mixed with the gum. 

Another mode of applying the sulphur, or impregnating the 
gum with it, is that of generating the sulphurous gas in the oven 
or heater which contains the goods, or of introducing it into 
the oven after it is generated. 



No. 2 represents the machine by which the gum is crushed, 
ground, and mixed with colors, and prepared for spreading upon 
cloth, rolling into sheets, or intermixing with fibre, for the lamin- 
ated fabrics, called vellum, tissue, &c. 

The callenders are hollow, and heated by steam to about 200° 
Fahrenheit. The gum, after having been chopped, cut and 
cleansed by the machine No. 1, and thoroughly dried in the loft 
of the manufactory, is passed between these callenders, and is 
thus reduced to a plastic state resembling dough in consistency. 
In this way from five to ten pounds are compounded and pre- 
pared for spreading, by one set of grinders at one time, in about 
half an hour. A number of these machines are required to 
supply one set of spreading callenders. 

With suitable power and machinery, one hundi-ed pounds 
would be crushed and prepared by one " set of grinders, in the 
same length of time. A great proportion of this labor will be 
unnecessary when the gum can be obtained in a pure state, 
without being smoked, as described in the article entitled 
" Method of a:atherin2; the Gum." 

Grinding the gum is the most tedious and expensive part of 
the manufacture of gum-elastic, which requires great mechan- 
ical power. It is want of adequate power and corresponding 
machinery for this purpose, and of that only, that the inventor 
is dissatisfied with the present state of the manufacture. The 
mammoth machine at Roxbury, built by Mr. Chaflfee, which has 
been alluded to, and which weighs about thirty tons, is of the 
right class, but that has been comparatively inefficient, for the 
want of adequate power to work it. 

For this reason, in part, and partly owing to its first cost, no 
other has ever been made of such dimensions, although money 
and time enough have been wasted, by the different manufac- 
turers of gum-elastic, upon fragile machinery, which has failed 


simply in consequence of its being too light, to have built many 
such sets of machinery as that alluded to. 

But were a number of sets of such machinery employed 
with a thousand horse power, either of water or steam power, 
instead of from twenty to fifty horse power, which are now 
commonly employed, an immense saving would be made in this 
manufacture. With a number of sets of mammoth machinery, 
and adequate power, one complement of workmen, buildings, 
foremen, &c., would then accomplish in this department of 
the manufacture nearly the same amount of labor as is now 
accomplished by a great number of smaller powers and light 

The great tenacity of the gum requires that the particles 
should be separated before it can be spread, and in order to do 
this when it is not dissolved, it becomes necessary to grind, or 
rather to knead it with callenders, as it cannot be ground in mills 
like granulated substances. Many attempts have been made to 
do this in the early stages of the manufacture, which were 
abandoned on account of the great power required. This is now 
done at most of the India rubber factories, by grinding or knead- 
ing about six or eight pounds at one time, until it is finished in 
the space of about twenty or thirty minutes. To conduct the 
manufacture to the best advantage, the machinery and power 
should be heavy enough to grind one hundred pounds in the 
same time. 

Before the gum is spread, it is first placed in either a wooden 
or iron box, and warmed, and is passed from thence to the 


No. 3 ; which, in its construction, always resembles closely, if 
not exactly, the machines for crushing and grinding. This 
machine is used for warming up the gum, and for the purpose 
of spreading it, after being ground in No. 2. The cylinders are 
hollow, and heated by steam, like No. 2, to about 200° Fahren- 


heit. This machine will warm the gum as fast as it is required 
to supply one spreading machine. 


This is performed with the machine represented by No. 4, by 
which the gum, after being mixed and prepared, is rolled into 
sheets, spread upon cloths, or combined with fibrous sub- 
stances, by which means drapery, the laminated fabrics, &c., 
are formed. 

The gum which is passed from the warming machine, No. 3, 
is placed between the first and second rolls from the top. The 
gum forms a sheet upon the second roll, and as it passes over, is 
pressed into the cloth, or cotton, which is passed between the 
third and fourth rolls. The fabric is wound upon a roll, in 
front of the machine, and connected with it ; if the cloth is coated 
upon both sides, or if the fabric manufactured is drapery, or sheets 
of gum, they are rolled up in cloths, to prevent the surfaces from 
adhering together, until they can be worked up or vulcanized. 

The average speed of this machine is such as to produce 
twelve hundred to fifteen hundred yards per day, covered with 
one coat of gum, and for some of the fabrics, two thousand 
yards per day. 

These callenders, like Nos. 2 and 3, are hollow, and are heated 
to about 200°, Fahrenheit. In this part of the manufacture there 
is no delay, and when the supply of the gum is kept up by the 
grinders, the goods are turned off with a rapidity to satisfy those 
who are most impatient of delay. 

The vast difference between the power of the two machines, 
that for crushing and grinding, and that for spreading the gum, 
and making the fabrics, has suggested to the inventor, that ulti- 
mately the plan might be adopted of preparing the gum at sep- 
arate establishments, for the manufacturers of the fabrics and 
articles, with the same advantages that are obtained by the 


preparation of tin plate or other metals for the manufacturer of 
those materials. Although the gum becomes, after being 
crushed, apparently as hard and unyielding as ever, it is, never- 
theless, permanently prepared and subdued by the separation of 
the particles, for spreading, whenever it is warmed up. For 
these reasons it might be kept prepared and sold like other raw 


This method is, at the present time, so far superseded by that 
of crushing and spreading^^with callenders heated by steam, as 
before described, that it is hardly considered worthy of notice ; 
it will, however, be found that it has its own peculiar merit for 
particular purposes, for the manufacture of tissue, fine drapery, 
and gum-elastic sponge, and for cement it is indispensable ; so 
that instead of going into disuse, it will be very extensively used 
in the manufacture of gum-elastic. 

The gum is dissolved most readily by being first chopped fine, 
and being placed in iron or metal vessels, or vats, and adding 
camphene or turpentine enough to cover it, requiring usually 
about one quart to the pound of gum ; this will bring the gum to 
the consistence of a very stiflf paste when ground or kneaded ; it 
is afterwards reduced, by adding camphene, to any desired con- 
sistency. In order to render it liquid enough to be used with 
the brush for cement, or to be spread with the knife, represented 
by machine No. 5, about a gallon of camphene is required. 

Whenever it is desired to bring the gum to a liquid state, 
without the aid of machinery, it should first be chopped fine, and 
put into from three to four quarts of the solvent to a pound of 
gum, and stirred once in an hour or two, until it becomes dis- 

It was the neglect to cut the gum in pieces small enough, and 
to add enough of the solvent at one time, that caused the art of 


dissolving India rubber, for a long time after it was practiced to 
some extent, to be considered by many a secret, and a thing 
difficult to do, when it afterwards appeared that it was one of 
the simplest and easiest things possible, when it was proceeded 
with in the manner described. 

The machine for spreading the gum in a liquid state, rep- 
resented by No. , is simply what is called a straight-edge or 
knife, which applies the gum in exceedingly thin coats to the 
cloth, as it passes under it in the form of an endless belt. This 
was adopted as the best way, after various methods had been tried 
of flowing the gum, applying it with brushes, &c. The method 
now practiced enables the manufacturer to use the gum as a var- 
nish or thin coating upon cloths, which, otherwise, it is almost 
impossible to do perfectly, or to any advantage, on account of the 
stringy quality of the liquid, and the sudden evaporation of the 

Dissolved gum has more commonly been spread by callen- 
ders, such as represented by No. G, worked when they are cold, 
or a little heated, and while the gum is in a semi-liquid state, or 
about the consistence of stiff" dough ; which, although it may be 
thoroughly dissolved, requires to be thoroughly ground or 
kneaded before it will spread evenly, or without what is termed 
by the workmen, crawling. 

The cloth, when coated by this machine with successive layers 
of gum to form the thickness desired, is wound up on an open 
reel, when each coat is left to dry before another is applied ; 
two or three coatings are commonly applied to form a waterproof 
cloth. The process is a slow one, making at the rate of about 
three hundred yards per day for one machine, but finer work can 
be done in this way than with the steam-heated callenders, and 
much more expeditiously than with the knife, or machine No. 5. 
The most perfect embossed fabrics are also made in this manner, 
by spreading the gum upon any figured fabric which may be used 
as a pattern. By this machine, as well as by the knife, the most 
perfect sheets of drapery are made by spreading the gum upon 
either a japanned or vulcanized India rubber cloth. In refer- 


ence to both of these methods, as in the use of India rubber for 
cementing, it is necessary to observe the directions before given, 
page , and to see that the gum is used before it ferments or 
becomes sour. 


After the gum is rolled into sheets, or spread upon cloths, or 
blended with fibrous substances and made into the laminated 
fabrics, the manipulation of the manufacture is so very simple 
and easy, that much need not be said on the subject. 

When the fabrics are taken from the spreading machine, they 
are in a state as adhesive as that of the native gum, and it 
requires great care and skill to handle the goods in working, to 
prevent the surfaces adhering together and becoming one solid 
mass, which cannot be separated. In order to prevent this, the 
sheets are rolled up in cloth, or dusted with flour. The articles 
which it is desired to manufacture being cut out, the seams are 
washed clean from the flour, and the parts being brought in 
contact, and pressed with the fingers or a small hand roller 
about the size of a dollar, they are firmly united, and the article 
is ready for vulcanizing. Some articles are cemented, or made 
up by machinery, as in the case of shirred goods and improved 
air work. Articles which are to be formed into various shapes, 
made of the compound, without cloth, require to be put on forms, 
or lasts, or into moulds, or to be otherwise supported, in order 
to prevent a change of shape when the gum becomes soft in the 
oven. The working of all the articles, whether of the gum or 
the fabrics, of whatever shape or form, admits of great cheapness 
and dispatch, as has been stated with some particulars, page 
Some peculiarities in the working of the different fabrics and 
wares are remarked upon in the description of them, under 
the head of Fabrics. 


m^s — ' 



Heat is the great agent, when sulphur is present, in pro- 
ducing the change wrought in the gum, called vulcanizing. 
It is only by the use of these two agents, sulphur and heat, that 
any substance has yet been produced, possessing the properties 
described, as belonging to metallic or vulcanized gum-elastic. 

The ovens or heaters that are made use of in the manufacto- 
ries, are heated either by steam or hot air let into them upon 
the goods. The choice of method depends upon circumstan- 
ces. Hot air ovens are commonly used by the shoe manufac- 
turers, because a higher finish or lustre is thereby obtained on 
the goods. Some articles made of colored coated fabrics are dis- 
colored by the steam, to which the steam heat is not therefore 
applied ; but for car and other springs, for masses of gum, for 
drapery, stayed compound, and numerous other articles and 
fabrics, the steam heat is preferred. 

The time occupied in heating the goods or vulcanizing them, 
is commonly from four to six hours, during which time the 
heat, in the hot-air, or steam oven, in which the goods have 
pi'eviously been placed, is gradually raised to a heat varying 
from 250 to 300° of Fahrenheit, usually to about 265 or 270°. 
The different degrees of heat which are applied, depends upon 
the thickness of the gum, and the greater or less proportion of 
lead or other substances that are mixed with it. While the heat 
is being applied in the oven or heater, the gum becomes soft, ap- 
proaching very nearly a melted state, at about the heat of 248°, 
after which the gum is hardened, as the heat is increased, until 
the change in it is complete. 

The successful application of heat, so as to obtain a uniform 
result, in vulcanizing the goods without blistering them, was a 
labor attended with extreme difficulty. Dry ovens with heated 
air were first used ; and for the purpose of obtaining the desired 


Heating. 163 

finish or lustre, as well as for other reasons, it was found neces- 
sary to continue to use them for vulcanizing shoes, clothing, 
and other fabrics, after the steam-heaters were adopted, and 
preferred for many other articles. The difficulty of distributing 
dry heat evenly throughout an oven, is one that all who have 
had experience in baking of any kind are familiar with. The 
same thing may be said of the heating of dwellings. The diffi- 
culty is much increased at the high temperature necessary for 

This obstacle, however, proved to be trifling compared with 
the losses and discouragements that at first attended the manu- 
facture in consequence of the fabrics being blistered in heating ; 
but as the causes of this effect have been particularly stated at 
the close of the chapter, it is not necessary to repeat them in 
this place. 

The expedients that are resorted to for heating different 
fabrics, and also for giving the articles their respective shapes, 
are very various ; this is unavoidable, as all the articles, unless 
it be those that are made of the very thin fabrics, retain after- 
wards the shape that is given them when vulcanized. The 
gum softens in the oven, so that, when in sheets before it is 
vulcanized unsupported by being spread on cloths, it will not 
bear its own weight ; for this reason also it becomes necessary 
to support many articles, such as shoes and garments, on lasts 
and forms. 

These, however, were of no avail in the vulcanizing of hollow 
ware, such as balls, &c. ; and this was not attempted until 1848, 
when the writer invented the process of heating them by the 
expansion of air contained in the articles placed in moulds. 
Further reference is made to this invention in a subsequent 
article on moulding. To attain all that appeared desirable to 
render the heating of every description of goods practicable, 
there was yet needed some means of heating gum-elastic 
veneers and small articles made of the hard compounds, such 
as buttons, covered buckles, &c., the former of which could 
not be treated like other sheets of gum ; and the expense of a 



mould for each separate article for the latter, besides the labor 
of handling them in the manufacture, would be too great to be 
practicable. The invention of vulcanizing the veneers between 
plates of metal under pressure, and that of vulcanizing the small 
and embossed articles made of hard compounds in finely pul- 
verized soapstone and other fine earths, were made by the 
writer almost simultaneously with the want felt for the pro- 
cesses, in consequence of the invention of the things alluded 
to. These methods may be said to be indispensable to the 
manufacture of the foregoing articles with success. And a 
few of the first specimens of them were only produced in time 
for the London Exhibition of 1851, to which they were for- 


When caoutchouc prepared with sulphur is exposed to the 
action of the sun's rays for several hours, a change is produced 
in the surface of the caoutchouc, which may be called natural 
vulcanization. The solarizing of India rubber fabrics com- 
pounded with sulphur was practiced by the writer previous to 
the discovery of the artificial vulcanizing process. Upon the 
discovery of the process of vulcanizing by means of artificial 
heat, the solarizing process was abandoned ; but recent improve- 
ments made by the author in the manufacture of caoutchouc 
fabrics, lead us to anticipate that solarization will again be 
used very extensively, particularly for the gutta percha variety 
of caoutchouc. 

The effects of solarization extend to only a slight depth, and 
the process is not therefore applicable or useful with thick 
sheets or masses of caoutchouc ; but in all the thin fabrics, or 
the fabrics upon which a thin sheet of caoutchouc is spread, 
solarization is an effectual and cheap process of curing India 

* The reader Is here referred to page 73. 

iS^o c 



Commonly known as the acid gas process. This has been 
employed since a patent was first obtained for it by the writer, 
by generating the gas with a mixture of nitric and muriatic acid, 
and immersing the article in it while the acid is in a heated 
state ; but latterly the process has become much more efficacious 
and practicable for general use, by first dipping the goods in 
diluted nitric acid, and afterwards in chloride of lime and water: 
this method renders the effect uniform without danger of scorch- 
ing the fabrics ; beside, it is much less expensive than the former 



The improvement made in gum-elastic fabrics by the simple 
process of perforating, will cause them to be extensively used for 
many articles for which they would not otherwise answer, on 
account of their confining perspiration and being uncomfortably 
warm. Two methods of perforating are practiced, one of which 
is accomplished by means of calenders set with needles, through 


i:^^^ — ■ 


which the fabrics are passed while in a soft state. The other 
mode is that of perforating them, either before or after they are 
finished, with machinery, Hke that which is used for perforating 
fancy paper. By either of these methods the fabrics may be 
pierced in various patterns or devices, at a very trifling expense. 


There are two methods by which a nap is given to the 
various fabrics, one of which is to dust woolen or other 
flocks upon them, by machinery, such as is represented by 
No. 7. By this machinery a coat of dissolved gum is applied 
to the fabrics. The flocks of wool, or other material, are dusted 
upon them before they pass through the last set of callenders, 
which are covered with gum-elastic sponge, blankets, or other 
elastic material, which fastens the flocks without disturbing the 
coat of gum. 

The other method applies only to the laminated fibrous fabrics 
of vellum, tissue, &c. Where the gum is applied upon one side 
only of these goods, the other side may be carded and dressed 
so as to form a nap of any length desired, or as long as the 
staple that is used will admit of. 


The method of embossing various articles, such as globes, 
dolls, toys, &c., differs materially from that of embossing India 
rubber fabrics. 

The articles which are embossed are commonly those of the 
class of hollow ware, which are expanded by the force of heated 
air contained within them, when they are vulcanized, which 


causes them to take the form of any design that is engraved in 
the mould in which they are placed. Articles which are solid, 
or nearly solid, with a hollow space within, may be shaped to 
any form, in the same way as is done in the manufacture of car- 
springs ; or they may be made of gum-elastic sponge, to fill the 
mould of any shape, with or without any hollow being left in the 

Globes, maps, or other articles, may be advantageously made 
in this way for the blind, and when the mould is inked or colored, 
they may be printed and embossed at the same time. 

The fibrous, and other fabrics, are embossed in a very simple 
and cheap manner, by rolling them up in a figured cambric, or 
other figured goods of any desired pattern, as the India rubber 
fabrics are taken from the callenders while the gum on them is 
soft and warm. Being then left to lie for a few hours until the 
gum is cold, the India rubber fabrics become impressed, and 
exact copies are obtained of the surface of the goods with which 
they are thus brought in contact. The original copy is not in- 
jured even where silk or satin fabrics are used ; and upon being 
removed, the impression or fac-simile of the copy remains ; and 
after the India rubber fabric is vulcanized, it answers all the 
purposes for embossing gum-elastic fabrics, that an expensively 
engraved callender answers for embossing cambrics or leather. 

Tissue, and other very delicate fabrics, are impressed in a 
similar manner, by spreading the gum upon the figured fabric, 
which is made into what is called an endless apron or belt. The 
layer of cotton which forms the tissue, is laid upon the apron or 
belt at the same time with the dissolved gum, by which means 
the fabric is formed and embossed at the same time. 



The application of these arts to gum-elastic, is so exactly like 
the method in common use for paper and other articles, that 
instructions on these heads would be quite superfluous, except 
to say that for copper-plate, lithography, and type printing, the 
fabrics do not require wetting like paper. 


These fabrics cannot be gilded in the same manner as leather, 
with a hot iron, because there is not sufficient adhesiveness in 
the fabrics to cause the leaf to hold. Therefore, in order to gild, 
varnish, or what printers term gold size, has to be used on the 
type or plate, and the leaf is afterwards applied as in the art of 


The term "plating" has been adopted for this improvement, 
from its resemblance to the art of plating metals, and also to 
distinguish it from the common method of coating India rubber 
cloths. The invention consists in interposing a bat or fleece of 
cotton wool, or other fibrous substance, between the coating of 
gum and the fabric. The gum is thus in part intermixed with 
the bat or fleece. Sometimes, however, the plating is prepared 
first in the form which has heretofore been described as tissue ; 
in either case, the gum is by this process prevented from peel- 
ing off" and abrasion — the importance of which improvement is 
further treated of under the head of " Plated Fabrics." It is by 
this process of plating that the manufacture of porous fabrics 
has been made practicable. 





The goods described on page , are corded by the machine 
represented by No. 8. This may be done either while the 
goods are being manufactured or afterwards. When the cords 
are placed upon a single thickness, after it is manufactured, the 
cords should be cemented with liquid gum. When they are 
placed between two thicknesses of the goods, they do not require 
cementing. In all cases the operation of cording is a very simple 
one, adding but a very trifle to the expense of the goods. 


The cutting of thread from native gum-elastic has been 
practiced for many years in foreign countries. The process 
and machinery for doing it is very different from that used in 
the United States for vulcanized thread. It is now cut in the 
United States from the manufactured sheets of gum, of any 
length desired, as represented by No. 9. This machine was 
patented by Messrs. Tyre and Helm, of New Brunswick, New 
Jersey, being an improvement upon the callender cutting ma- 
chine first used, represented by No. 10. The expense of man- 
ufacturing the vulcanized cord has become much less than that 
of the native gum cord, to say nothing of the difference in 


The shirred goods described on page , are corrugated by 
the machine represented by No. 11. A brief description of the 



method of manufacturing these goods may not be uninteresting 
to those who are unacquainted with it, which is as follows : two 
pieces of woven cloth, ribbons, or any other suitable fabric, are 
first prepared by cementing them with liquid gum-elastic. 
Threads that have been cut from sheets of gum-elastic, drawn 
to the necessary tension, as represented by the cut, are run be- 
tween the two fabrics previously prepared with cement; these 
fabrics having between them the extended threads, are passed 
between the compressing rollers of the shirring machine. The 
threads are made quite small by their tension, and the cemented 
fabrics are pressed around and between them, and adhere to- 
gether. On being loosed from the machinery, the extended 
elastic threads contract forcibly, and by their contraction shir or 
corrugate the goods. In this way, that which it is apparently 
impossible to do without a great amount of labor, is accomplished 
almost without any, and with great rapidity, one machine turn- 
ing off five hundred to one thousand yards per day. 


A very incorrect idea is commonly entertained relating to the 
manner in which gum-elastic is moulded. Attempts are fre- 
quently made by those who experiment with it to form articles, 
by filling moulds with dissolved gum, as they would do with 
pewter, plaster, or gutta percha. The solvents form so great a 
part of the bulk of dissolved gum, which is lost by evaporation, 
that moulds cannot be filled with it, as with the articles named. 
They might, however, be filled with undissolved gum, softened 
by heat, and under a heavy pressure, if such a process were 
necessary ; but this would not form hollow articles, nor is it ne- 
cessary even for sohd articles, because the method of the inventor 
answers alike well for those that are solid, and those that are 
hollow, as herein described. 

When solid articles are formed, the moulds are filled with the 
mass of compound, as near the size of the article as may be. 


The expansion of the air and gases, which are unavoidably 
within the mass, will shape the article to conform to the mould. 

When hollow ware of any kind is formed, sheets of elastic 
compound, artificial ivory, or fibrous fabrics, of the required 
thickness, are cut in two or more pieces, with a knife, punch, 
or dye, the edges of the pieces are either lapped, or butted 
and cemented together, barely strong enough, so that the ar- 
ticle may be partially filled with air before it is put into the 
mould. By the expansion of the air and gases, while the article 
is vulcanizing, it is caused to fill the mould completely, even to 
the finest line engraved upon it, and having assumed, it retains, 
when vulcanized, the form and shape of the mould. The average 
thickness of the article being a little less than the sheet of gum 
used for it. 

When an article is made from more than two pieces of the 
sheets of any considerable thickness, say one-eighth of an inch 
or more, it is not necessary that they should be inflated at all 
with air, as they will necessarily inclose enough to shape the ar- 
ticle to the mould. It is not necessary that the pieces, when 
cemented together, should have any particular resemblance to 
the article which is to be moulded. The same pieces, which are 
cut in halves and inflated, or in four quarters, like the peel taken 
from an orange and not inflated, (the edges being butted to- 
gether,) will make a bird, or a doll's head, as well as a bat ball. 
In other words, angular and divers shaped articles may be made 
from the same pieces as spherical and smooth ones. Tumblers, 
dishes, cups, &c., may be formed in this way, in united pairs from 
similar formed pieces ; and when cut apart, after being vulcan- 
ized, two articles are obtained from one mould by each process 
of filling it. 

Shoes or pitchers may be formed from the same or similar 
shaped pieces, space being left in the mould where the top or 
mouth of the article is formed, which leaves a comb or spur on 
the article ; this being cut off, the article becomes opened and 

This method, which was first applied to the manufacture of 


1^3 __ . ^ 


balls, is often alluded to in the second volume of this work, in 
the description of the articles, or the method of making them ; 
for which reason a more particular description of the method 
has been given than of some of the other processes of the manu- 


Moulds of iron and brass were first used after the invention of 
this method of moulding gum-elastic. The difficulty of finishing 
such moulds, beside the expense of them, for articles that were 
manufactured extensively, became an important item. This 
drawback upon this valuable method, otherwise so simple and so 
practicable, has fortunately been removed by an invention of 
Henry B. Goodyear, brother of the writer, as follows : The 
pattern of the article to be made is first obtained, either in plas- 
ter, wood, iron, or any softer metal. A cast or form of the 
mould is taken from the pattern in plaster; from this plaster 
cast or form a brass mould is cast, finished and completed, with 
hinges and handles, like a bullet mould, with which the hollow- 
ware moulds are cast of Britannia metal as cheaply, so far as the 
expense of the manufacture is concerned, as the same number of 
bullets. This metal will bear the heat of the vulcanizing pro- 
cess, and is not expensive. 

What adds much to the economy of the manufacture, in the use 
of this invention, is, that the same metal may be cast and re-cast 
for moulds for different articles, or for different sizes of the same 
article, with very trifling loss, as occasion may require. The 
method is so much less expensive than the forming and frequent 
changing of the different styles of shoe-lasts, that it is anticipated 
it may lead to the manufacture of some kinds of shoes, particu- 
larly small children's shoes, by moulds instead of lasts. 



In conclusion of this chapter, the writer would say, that he has 
endeavored to be so explicit as to guard the experimenter against 
the mistakes that were the cause of serious hindrance and delay 
in his own progress, in experimenting for a great length of time. 
In doing this, although it may, in some cases, prove a detriment 
to his pecuniary interests, he would gladly remove from the way 
of all others the perplexities which he encountered, considering 
that it is warranted by the advantage that others may derive by 
this publication. Where persons are at such a distance that 
they cannot recognize the legal claims of the inventor, they are 
entitled to such information, as being conducive to the extension 
of the manufacture, and the welfare of mankind ; and it is the 
wish of the writer that those who are disposed to recognize such 
claims, may be prevented from needless waste of time and 
money, which every one will not fail to encounter who under- 
takes to experiment with gum-elastic without any knowledge of 
the substance. 

Further, it may be remarked that these instructions, brief as 
they are, may be of service to those who desire to make articles 
on a small scale, or for experiment merely, where access cannot 
be had to the factories, or is not desired from motives of secrecy, 
by those who invent new applications of the substance. It 
may be satisfactory to such persons to know, that they can now 
manufacture gum-elastic by hand with some advantage, however 
much more advantageously it may be done by machinery. 

The present intention of the writer is to give, in a future 
edition of this work, a more minute description of the different 
processes of this manufacture, and the proportional ingredients 
of the different compounds which produce such various, although 
similar results. 

It may be well, however, to state here for the benefit of those 
who may hereafter experiment or engage in this manufacture, 


the practical difficulties that were met with in it, particularly 
those of blistering and fermentation, after the art of vulcaniza- 
tion was discovered. The fermentation of the compound and 
the impossibility at first of heating the fabrics evenly without 
their being blistered, presented the chief obstacles in the way 
of success. Owing to these, and the want of means to obtain 
suitable heating apparatus, it was more than a year before 
specimens could be produced sufficient to satisfy any one that 
there was any value in the invention. And after the man- 
ufacture was established by those who had ample means for 
experimenting with every facility, the discouragements in this 
art of heating were so many, and ihe actual losses by goods 
that were damaged were such, that for a period of three or 
four years more, or until 1845-6, it was considered by most 
persons to be exceedingly doubtful whether the invention could 
be made so practicable as to become generally useful ; and 
these doubts of the success of the manufacture were not 
wholly removed until the gum came to be ground and 
worked with steam heat, instead of being dissolved with tur- 

During the first year or two, the writer worked the gum 
always by dissolving it, and used chiefly the machinery with 
which the compounds are spread by the straight edge or 
knife, by which method the compounds are much more liable 
to fermentation on account of the greater quantity of turpen- 
tine that has to be used to make the gum liquid enough to be 
spread by this machinery. 

This tendency of the compounds to ferment, particularly in 
those in which lead, litharge, vermilion, and chrome are used, 
occurs in hot weather, and also in cold weather when the 
compound is kept in a warm place ; and if not spread within 
a day or two after it is mixed, it ferments or sours, and can 
not be vulcanized. As no one at first had any knowledge or 
suspicion of any such change in the composition, and as it 
did not always occur when the circumstances were apparently 
(though not really) the same, it was the occasion of much per. 



plexity and uncertainty in perfecting the invention. After 
this cause of the failure of many experiments was detected and 
guarded against, when it became desirable to vulcanize speci- 
mens of any considerable thickness, or from -g-'j to y'g- of an 
inch in thickness, they were found to be blistered in nearly 
every instance ; and afterwards, when the manufacture of the 
goods was established, this defect rendered the goods so im- 
perfect and unmerchantable, and occasioned so great losses, 
as almost to induce some of the manufacturers to abandon the 
business altogether. The causes of this effect also were not all 
known, and some of them were not even suspected for a long 
time. They were so numerous that it is no way surprising 
that it could not then be told to which of them might be attrib- 
nled the failure of any particular experiment, or that it should 
then, in ignorance of them, be impossible to guard against them 
all at any one time. Another circumstance that served to 
mislead the inventor and subsequently the manufacturers, was 
the shortness of the time required to heat or vulcanize thin 
coats of gum, being only a few minutes, while it was not then 
known that it required the heat to be gradually raised several 
hours to vulcanize perfectly thicker coats of gum, or only yW 
parts of an inch and more, without blistering. 

Blistering occurs when the gum is dissolved with turpentine 
under the following circumstances : 

1st. When the turpentine is old or acidulated. 

2d. When the sulphur is acid, as it is usually found in the 

3d. When the white lead, gum or other ingredients, are acci- 
dentally or otherwise mixed with substances that generate gases 
of any kind in the fabrics while they are being heated. 

4th. When any of the ingredients of the compound are wet 
when mixed, so that they generate steam in heating. 

5th, When the turpentine is not well dried off before the 
fabrics are vulcanized. 

6th. The fabrics are also liable to blister when solvents are 
not used, if a high degree of heat is applied too suddenly, or if 



the heat is raised too rapidly, and also from the generation of 

The discontinuance mostly of the use of solvents in working 
the gum for some years past, together with the experience 
acquired in the manufacture, have overcome the difficulties 
that are alluded to, so that they no longer exist m an established 
manufactory, which renders the foregoing remarks less neces- 
sary than they otherwise would be ; but as it is supposed that 
the use of turpentine or other solvents will again be resorted to 
to a great extent for the manufacture of some of the fabrics, it 
is deemed that the statement of these particulars will be found 
useful, especially to those who are unacquainted with the 




Metallic gum-clastic, the name first given by the author to his invention. Why so termed. 
Printed fabrics bound in volumes. An enumeration of the principal variety of fabrics. Easy 
combination of the gum with other substances. A table showing the uses of the metallic 
gum, as substitutes. Instructions for making up the fabrics after they are metallized or vulcan- 
ized. Elastic compound. Non-ela.<!tic compound. Stayed compound. Drapery. Medicated 
drapery. Caoutchouc cloths. Sponge. Tufted sponge. Sponge fabric. Fibrous fabrics. 
Tissue. Vellum. Plated fabrics. Felt, or vegetable leather. Corded fabrics. Barred goods. 
Knit goods. Shirred goods. Packing. Gritted goods. Napped goods. Embossed fabrics. 
Ventilated goods. Quilted fabrics. Perforated goods. Card cloths. Coated cloths. Porous 
fabrics. Indelible goods. Japanned goods. Hollow ware. Cord ware. Wire-work. Wicker- 
work. Air-work. Elastic cord. Braided cord. Elastic cordage. Covered cordage. Vellum 
cord. Sponge cord. Hard compounds. Caoutchouc enamel. Caoutchouc ivory. Caoutchouc 
buck-horn. Caoutchouc whalebone. Caoutchouc deal boards. Caoutchouc veneers. Enam- 
eled ware. 

Soon after the discovery of the heating or vulcanizing pro- 
cess, the inventor applied the term metallic gum-elastic to the 
improved article. After the introduction into England, of 
the vulcanizing process, the material was there aptly styled 
vulcanized Indian rubber, although that title is not so truthful 
as metallic gum-elastic, the name given by the writer, at the time 
of its discovery in 1839 ; the word " metallic" being adopted in 
reference to the metallic ingredients, sulphur and lead, one or 
both of which are commonly used in this manufacture, sulphur 
with heat having been found, up to this time, indispensable to 
the process, and lead, or some other metal equivalent to it, being 
found useful in order to obtain economical or complete results in 
many cases. In order to give the reader an idea of the quality 
of these fabrics, some of them have been bound in this volume. 
Some few copies for public libraries have also been printed wholly 
upon these fabrics. To have given specimens of them all, would 
have made the work entirely too bulky, and would be more fitting 
a pattern card than a publication. In order to distinguish the 
numerous fabrics made from vulcanized gum-elastic, many of 
which are quite new, and in order to give the writer's opinion 



of the uses to which they are best adapted, and by which 
they may be aided in the selection of any particular fabric for 
any special use, they are classed and described as follows : 




1. Elastic Compound, 



Perforated Goods, 


2. Non-elastic Compound, 



Card Cloths, 


3. Stayed Compound, 



Coated Cloths, 


4. Drapery, . 




Porous Fabrics, . 


5. Medicated Drapery, 



Indelible Goods, 


6. Caoutchouc Cloths, . 



Japanned Goods, 


( Tufted Sponge, 






7. Sponges, •< Sponge Fabric, 





' Sponge Cord, 



Wire-work, . 


8. Tissue, 






9. Vellum, . 




Air- work, 


10. Plated Fabrics, . 




Elastic Cord, 


1 1. Felt, or Vegetable Leather, 




Braided Cord, 


12. Corded Fabrics, . ' . 




Elastic Cordage, 


13. Barred Goods, 



Covered Cordage, 


14. Knit Goods, 




Vellum Cord, . 



15. Shirred Goods, 




Sponge Cord, 


16. Packing, . 



Caoutchouc Enamel, 


17: Gritted Goods, 








18. Napped Goods, . 






19. Embossed Fabrics, . 





20. Ventilated Fabrics, . 



Deal boards. 


21. Quilted Fabrics, 







Of most of these fabrics and wares, there are many varieties 
and styles of finish and ornamenting, which adapt them to 
such opposite purposes as almost to entitle them to be styled 
different fabrics. These fabrics form various combinations 
with each other, and the compound mixes readily with almost 
every other substance, such as earths and the oxides of metals, 
the numerous gums, bitumen, and oils, vegetable and all fibrous 

r i 


substances ; therefore it is no more surprising that a great vari- 
ety of articles should be made from them than that a great 
number of words should be formed from the letters of the 


However absurd it may seem to propose these fabrics as sub- 
stitutes for some things that are specified, it appears from the 
foregoing statements that have been made in regard to the 
adaptations of them, and from the descriptions which follow 
relating to their application, that they may be substituted for a 
variety of materials in common use, viz : 

1st. For steel and iron, as illustrated by car springs. 

2d. For lead, copper, and zinc, as illustrated by roofing, tube, 
kitchen-ware, (fee. 

3d. For slate and stone, as illustrated by gritted goods. 

4th. For wood and wooden-ware, as illustrated by boxes, 
boats, casks, buckets, veneering, &c. 

5th. For leather, as illustrated by shoes and boots, carriage 
cloths, hose, trunks, book-binding, belting, &;c. 

6th. For twine, tape, cord, and cordage, as illustrated by 
various articles of this sort. 

7th. For cloth of cotton, wool, flax, silk, hair, &c., as illus- 
trated by clothing, carpeting, umbrellas, sails, bags, furniture 
covering, &c. 

8th. For oil silk and oil cloth, as illustrated by articles for 
medical uses, surgery, and floor cloth. 

9th. For paper, parchment, &;c , as illustrated by maps, 
charts, globes, drum-heads, covering for books, boxes, walls, &c. 

10th. For crockery, pottery, and glass-ware, as illustrated by 
pitchers, ewers, tunnels, and basins. 

11th. For wicker and basket-work, as illustrated by baskets, 
covering of phials, bottles, demijohns, &;c. 



12th. For sponge, and curled hair, by cushions, matresses, 
pillows, &c. 

13th. For bristles, and broom-corn, by brushes, scrubs, &c. 


If any elastic cement could be found that would unite 
these fabrics firmly, so that they could be made up as expe- 
ditiously as they are made at the factories before thev are 
vulcanized, and also equally impervious to air or water, it would 
be an invaluable acquisition. This can with no more reason 
be expected, than that a thing can be adhesive and inadhesive 
at the same time. 

The great object so long sought after, that of divesting gum- 
elastic of its adhesive quality, has been so completely effected 
in these fabrics that they cannot be made again adhesive even 
when it is desired. 

The following directions in relation to making up various 
articles described in this work, from the different fabrics which 
are to be found in the market, may be found useful. 

When a button-hole is cut, either in the drapery or metallic 
compound, care should be taken to cut it at the lower end, with 
a round punch, to correspond with the size of the shank of the 
button or knob with which it is to be used. A simple, straight- 
cut button-hole will tear out more easily. 

Whenever the fabrics called elastic compound, or drapery, 
are stitched to other fabrics, a stay of leather, vellum, or some 
other firm goods must first be cemented to it, or the stitch will 
not hold. 

Fish or other glue, is the strongest cement that can be 
used for these goods, when they are not to be exposed to much 
wet. Dry heat will not injure this cement. Any of the coated 
cloths, and also all the laminated fabrics, may be stitched with 


the needle and made into garments, or other articles, to fit and 
suit the purchaser, and they can be made effectually water- 
proof, after they are stitched, by the use of any of the water- 
proof varnishes, or by a cement of India rubber dissolved in 
pure camphene or turpentine, and applied to the seams. This 
is more effectually accomplished when a welt of the same 
material is used in the seams. 

These goods may also be mended with patches of the mate- 
rial, by the same means, and small leaks may be effectually 
stopped in air- work or water-proof articles by a few drops of 
coUodium, or gun cotton varnish ; but this varnish does not ad- 
here sufficiently to hold a seam where there is much strain ; 
besides, it dries too suddenly to be used in such a way. Shoe- 
makers' wax, or a drop of hot sealing-wax, will often answer for 
stopping a small leak in air-work. Directions are given in the 
second volume, on this subject, for some articles, with the 
descriptions of those articles as they are made up at the 

Since the foregoing article was first stereotyped, a gum- 
elastic cement has been discovered by the writer, which appears 
to answer all the ends that are desired, for cementing the vul- 
canized fabrics, except that of holding a strong seam where there 
is much strain. But it answers well the purposes of mending 
garments, patching air- work, umbrellas, and for cementing gum- 
elastic soles to leather shoes, as well as for the purpose of 
making up many articles from the lighter fabrics, such as tissue 
and vellum. The public will, ere long, be put in possession of the 
means of doing many things themselves with these fabi'ics, 
which could otherwise only be done at the factories 



The term elastic compound, is applicable to the heated or vul- 
canized gum in heavy sheets and masses, or blocks, which are 
put in the market uncombined with cloth or other fibrous sub- 
stances, for the purpose of being cut up and applied to various 
uses, where elasticity is required, either by tension or compres- 
sion. Its properties have been described under the head of 
metallic gum-elastic. 

It is made by the licensees in sheets, threads, and masses, of 
any form or thickness for the uses for which it is required. 


The materials of which this substance is compounded are in 
some cases the same as those of the elastic compound. It is 
made non-elastic, and at the same time flexible, by varying the 
degree of heat in vulcanizing and the proportions of the ingre- 
dients. Finely pulverized soap-stone or talc is added to the 
mixture, when the compound is intended to be used for articles 
that are much exposed to abrasion. 



This is a description of vulcanized gum-elastic fabric, of 
various thicknesses, combined with inelastic stays. When the 
alternate coats of gum are spread to form the sheet of stayed 
compound, stays, or strips of coated cloth, silk knit goods, or 
vellum, of suitable widths, are cemented either in the middle or 
upon the outside of the sheet, at such distances apart, that when 
the sheet is cut up between the stays, it will form springs of the 
size and length desired, which may be attached by means of 
button-holes, or stitched in the stays, to other articles ; for it is 
a defect of gum-elastic, when uncombined with other sub- 
stance, that it will not hold stitches. This defect is obviated 
by these stays, and the goods are thereby adapted to a great 
variety of uses, such as suspender ends, shoe springs, corset 
springs, shoulder braces, &c. Another description of stays 
is found to be well adapted to other purposes, as follows. The 
stays are made of small hose, of India rubber canvas, cloth, or 
knit goods, which are cemented between the sheets of com- 
pound, as before stated, at suitable distances for the articles 
or which the goods are designed. When the springs are cut 
apart, a cord may be passed through the hose, whereby they 
may be attached to other articles. For gate, door, or cupboard 
springs, and other like uses, the hose is to be slipped over a pin 
or staple attached to the door, gate, &c. When these springs 
are to be attached to webbing for girths, circingles, stirrup 
leathers, &c., the hose is to be cut open at the end of the 
spring, and the web or leather stitched in between the two parts. 




Drapery is of the most delicate texture, and having been sub- 
jected to a finishing process, which gives a pecuhar dryness and 
softness of the surface, it differs in these respects from many of 
the other fabrics. This leaf is a specimen of the finer sort, 
though others are made very much lighter, weighing only 
one-quarter part as much as this. Such, however, are made 
rather as specimens or curiosities of the art, than for use, except 
it be for medical purposes. When the demand becomes greater 
for this material, it will be among the cheapest of gum-elastic 
fabrics, and can be afforded at an extremely low price. 

The extreme tenuity of this vegetable substance, may be 
compared to gold leaf among the metals. 

Many uses of this novel article are yet to be ascertained. 
The following may be specified. Pocket maps, bandages for 
the stoppage of hemorrhage, and for fomentations. It is also 
useful for the covering of the mouths of bottles and jars, and 
for the common uses of oil silk, beside those hereafter described 
among the applications of gum-elastic. The most finished and 
perfect drapery is made of the gum dissolved in camphene. 



Medicated drapery differs from that already described, only 
by having mixed with it any ingredient desired, whether opium, 
camphor, or'perfumery ; but to what good purpose must be left, 
as in the case of all medications, for the physician and patient 
to decide. Numerous cures of rheumatic complaints are said 
to have been performed by this article, some of which have 
come to the knowledge of the writer. His opinion in reference 
to the drapery, whether medicated or not, is this ; that in sudden 
and slight attacks of rheumatism, stiff necks from cold, &c., it is 
a useful remedy, but in cases of chronic rheumatism, and gout, 
it is of no value. On this head, the inventor speaks from per- 
sonal experience. As a remedy in the case of slight though 
very painful burns and scalds, it may be highly recommended. 



These are made of thread spun from the elastic compound, 
and woven into cloth. Only a few yards of this fabric, as spe- 
cimens, have yet been made. The first yard was woven in a 
hand loom in 1841. Machinery is yet to be constructed to spin 
and weave it to advantage. To speak of its utility would be 
premature, until facts that are obvious to the mind of the inventor 
shall be demonstrated to the satisfaction of others. It is porous 
like other woven cloths ; it therefore would not, like other India 
rubber fabrics, be objectionable for wearing apparel, on account 
of confining the perspiration of the body. Although it would 
not, like them, be water-proof, yet it would shed rain much bet- 
ter than fibrous cloths of cotton or wool. Its great recommen- 
dation would be durability, economy and cleanliness. The opin- 
ion is entertained that fabrics of this sort will ultimately be made 
to advantage, in imitation of camblets and the coarser kinds of 
silk, similar to the specimens which have already been produced. 
The same general remarks may apply to this fabric that have 
been made relating to porous fabrics, although they would differ 
from them in two particulars — the caoutchouc cloths would be 
more cloth-like in appearance, but more expensive than the 
porous fabrics. 




During the process of vulcanizing, the blistering of the 
gum presented originally an obstacle to the art which at dif- 
ferent times it seemed impossible to overcome. It was the 
occasion of great loss and hinderance, both to the inventor and 
the licensees who first engaged in the manufacture. This cir- 
cumstance led to the production of the substance now called 
gum-elastic sponge. After the cause of the blistering was 
found to be owing to gases generated in the gum under certain 
circumstances, it became necessary only to compound the gum 
with such substances as would generate the gases freely, so as to 
make the whole mass a sponge. Subsequently the effect of the 
gases was to produce great irregularity in the shape of the gum 
that was sponged, so that no particular form could be given to 
it ; but on resorting to the expedient of heating in moulds, as in 
the case of hollow-ware, it is now made to assume any form 
which is desired, and any degree of porousness, whether of fine 
or coarse texture, which has given rise to many useful applica- 
tions of the article, among the most important of which may be 
specified horse-collars, saddle and harness pads, corks, clothes 
brushes, cushions, toys, &c. In order to form these articles with 
a smooth surface they are coated with a sheet of elastic compound 
previous to being vulcanized. This substance will be found ex- 
ceedingly durable for any purpose to which it may be applied. 



This is formed by vulcanizing a sheet of the sponge mass be- 
tween two air-tight fabrics, which forms a coat upon each of the 
fabrics, resembhng a heavy shag, fur, or plush, which is used as 
a veneer or coating upon the bathing gloves and mittens, de- 
scribed page 


Gum-elastic sponge may be formed into a sheet of any desira- 
ble thickness, unconnected with any other fabric, or it may be 
laid upon or between other fabrics, either in the process of 
manufacture or afterwards. 

The uses of the gum-elastic sponge fabric will undoubtedly 
be very numerous ; but the article is so very novel that it is 
yet too soon to attempt a very particular account of them. 



After the change was wrought in caoutchouc by the process 
of vulcanization, comparatively few mechanical obstacles re- 
mained in the way of its successful application to any articles 
required to be made of the gum alone, or when uncombined 
with any fabric or tissue ; but in all combinations where a 


fabric or tissue was coated with the vulcanized compounds, the 
same obstacles of chafing and peeling from the fabrics con- 
tinued to exist as before. 

The great liability of the gum to peel from all woven cloths, 
has been well known to all manufacturers, since the first manu- 
facture of India rubber. This difficulty was not removed by 
the discovery of the vulcanizing process, and the sanguine 
hopes that were entertained, that gum-elastic could be made a 
substitute for animal leather, to any considerable extent, were 
for a time nearly abandoned. For many years the inventor 
sought to surmount the difficulty, by applying the gum to every 
description of fabric that could be found, that would be likely 
to answer, and to others which he had made expressly for the 
purpose, at great expense, without attaining the object. The 
difficulty remained until it was obviated by the manufacture of 
the fibrous fabrics. In these goods the fibre is so completely 
incorporated with the gum that it is impossible to peel it. 

The primary importance of the vulcanizing process has been 
repeatedly alluded to ; but it has become generally available 
and extensively applicable, chiefly in consequence of the inven- 
tion of the fibrous fabrics here described. The invention of 
these fabrics is only secondary to that of vulcanization, and is 
as important iii the mechanical combination of the materials as 
vulcanization is in their chemical combination. 

These fabrics, and their uses, are so various, answering the 
widely contrasted uses to which paper, cloth, and leather are 
applied, that a description of them under the general head of 
fibrous fabrics, would not be sufficiently explicit. They are 
therefore described according to their thickness, as tissue, 
vellum, plated fabrics, felt, and corded fabrics. Perhaps the 
most valuable application of gum-elastic, is its substitution for 
leather. It could not be so substituted, to any considerable 
extent, previous to the invention of the fibrous fabrics. 



Tissue is formed of a layer of cotton wool, which is sized 
before it is coated with gum. The dissolved gum is combined 
with it by the spreading machine, which makes a complete 
admixture of the two articles. The fibre of the cotton is not 
broken, as in the manufacture of paper, and it is, therefore, very 
much stronger, and when corded, stronger than woven fabrics 
of the same weight. 

Knowing the very low cost at which this fabric will be 
ultimately manufactured, the inventor does not hesitate to ad- 
vance the opinion, that in the course of a few years it will be 
used instead of the more costly kinds of paper ; and occasionallyj 
if not ordinarily, for the issuing of mammoth sheets, placards, 
handbills, &c. ; after having been used for such a purpose, the 
printing may be removed by boiling in a strong solution of pot- 
ash or common lye. The owner of such an article would 
have goods suitable for a lady's apron, a cape, the covering for 
an umbrella, or some other useful article. It might be re-orna- 
mented, or it might serve again its original use. Tissue has, 
therefore, an intrinsic value, which paper has not. Its adapta- 
tion to the printing of pocket maps, school atlases and globes, is 
already beginning to be well understood ; and for the papering 
of walls, particularly in damp situations, its advantages are too 
obvious to need comment. The same remark may be made of it 
for the covering of paper bandboxes. It is like drapery, useful 
as a substitute for oil silk. To suggest the idea that it may be 
made useful for ladies' capes, bonnets, hoods, and also for rib- 
bons, may appear absurd to some who do not yet understand 
the high state of perfection to which the manufacture is destined 
to be brought ; and yet it is evident that some of these articles 
must be desirable in stormy weather. Tissue is perhaps the 
most useful of all the fabrics, in a warm climate, as a protection 
from rains ; and also when napped, it is equally well adapted for 
that use in cold chmates. 

VELLUM. 191 


This is made of a bat of cotton, of about one-quarter to one- 
half an inch in thickness, Hke that commonly made and used 
for cloak wadding. The gum is pressed into, and intermixed 
with the wadding, at one operation of the spreading callenders ; 
and like the other fibrous fabrics, it is manufactured with 
great rapidity. 

It is made impervious to air and water with much less gum 
than the woven fabrics ; besides, the gum is not liable to peel off 
as it does from other fabrics. It is, for most purposes, the 
cheapest, as well as the best of the non-elastic fabrics ; and when 
corded, as described in the chapter on corded goods, page — , 
bids fair to supersede the coated cloths entirely for many pur- 
poses, particularly for light articles of wearing apparel, and 
also, when corded, for the heavier uses of India rubber can- 
vas. It is made, when desired, in imitation of various kinds 
of morocco, kid, and buff leather, and of different thicknesses 
and degrees of strength, according to the thickness of the 
wadding. When embossed in imitation of hair cloth, or other- 
wise ornamented and perforated, it may be used for the cover- 
ing of chair and sofa seats. 

The most important uses of it will probably be those of book- 
binding and air-work, a particular description of which may be 
found under those heads. 

It may be safely recommended for most, if not all, the pur- 
poses for which common sheep skins and skivers are used, and 
for many uses it is more durable than the best calf or Russia 
leather. For wearing apparel, various thicknesses of this fabric, 
with different kinds of nap, are suitable, according to the climate 
or the occupation and wants of the wearer ; it is exactly suitable, 
on account of its softness and durability, to be used for the cover- 
ing of counting-house, portable and school desks, and writing 



The term " plated" has been adopted to designate a peculiar 
method of coating cloths with caoutchouc and its compounds. 
Plated fabrics are made by the interposition of a thin bat or 
fleece of cotton or flax fibres between the gum and any fabric to 
which it is applied, whether woven, knit, or felted. The gum, 
when applied in this manner, is partly intermixed with the bat 
or fleece of fibre, and both are securely united to the fabric, and 
are held firmly even upon linen or any canvas made of hard- 
spun thread. The coarser and more open the fabric, the 
greater is the economy, and the advantage every way in 
plating, instead of coating it by the old method of applying the 
gum to the cloth, because the plating is laid over instead of 
being forced into the meshes of the canvas ; the consequence is, 
that the coarsest and most open canvas is, when plated, ren- 
dered water-proof with about the same quantity of gum as is 
required for the finest muslin. Heretofore, when gum-elastic 
was applied to woven fabrics, and especially to linen or coarse 
fabrics, without the interposition of fibres, the gum was not only 
easily peeled or chafed from the fabric, but it required so great 
quantity of it to fill the meshes of the fabrics, and render them 
water-proof, that their expensiveness, together with their great 
weight, almost wholly prevented the manufacture of this class 
of caoutchouc fabrics. The same obstacles of weight and ex- 
pensiveness have always existed to prevent the manufacture of 
heavy oil or other water-proof cloths sufficiently strong and 
yet cheap and light enough for the uses for which such fabrics 
are desirable. 

By this improved method of plating fabrics, they are made so 
cheap and light, and yet so durable, that there is good reason 
for believing that this method will be generally adopted, but 
more especially for linen goods, heavy canvas, and bagging. 

FELT. 193 


This fabric is very similar to the other fibrous fabrics. It 
however differs from them inasmuch as it is made of a greater 
variety of fibrous materials which are put together in a different 
way ; it is also applied to some uses to which the other fibrous 
fabrics are not applied, such as sole leather, different kinds of 
packing, foundation of carpeting, &c. The fibrous materials 
of which it is made, such as cotton, cotton waste, flax, hemp, 
hair, wool, rags, waste leather, &c., separately or combined with 
one another, are first picked and then thrown together in bats 
or sheets of a suitable thickness, instead of being carded in 
alternate layers, as in the other fibrous fabrics ; consequently 
the fibres of the bat or sheet are more entangled and not so 
likely to split. When this fabric is used as a substitute for sole 
leather, to be used on shoes and for some other purposes, one- 
fourth to one-half its thickness is made of caoutchouc whale- 
bone, in order to give greater firmness and hardness. 




Tissue and vellum are made very strong, (and are difficult to 
be torn,) when corded with silk, thread, twine, or spun-yarn, for 
the same reason that muslins and other woven fabrics are 
strengthened by being barred or corded with threads stronger 
than those of which the cloth is made. 

The different fibrous fabrics, when corded in this manner, 
are even stronger than India rubber fabrics that are made of 
woven cloths. The uses of these fabrics are the same as those 
of tissue, vellum, and vegetable leather ; but on account of their 
great strength, they are more extensively applicable to many 
purposes for which those fabrics would not answer, such as ships' 
sails, tarpaulins, coach cloths, &c. 

The great recommendation of these goods is, that they possess 
the greatest strength with the least possible weight, at the same 
time that the gum does not peel or chafe from them as it does 
from coated cloths. 


These consist of various articles made of the vulcanized 
fabrics, which are strengthened by narrow bands or strips of 
coated canvas, which are cemented upon the outside of the 
articles or fabrics in a sort of net-work. By these means a 
lighter fabric can be made use of for any given purpose than 
otherwise could be, and the greatest strength is thereby obtained 
with the least weight. The wear of the articles made in this 
way comes very much upon the bands, which makes them better 
adapted for ships' sails, tents, mail-bags, awnings, &;c., than the 
plain fabrics.* 

* Of this fabric, manufactured from a light and inferior article of cotton duck, a topsail of the 
packet ship " Stephen Whitney" was made ; for a report upon the qualities and performance of 
which, the reader Is referred to the letters of Capt. Popham, page of this work. 



Are made of knit fabrics covered on one or both sides with 
gum-elastic. Until recently, India rubber, as well as the vul- 
canized gum-elastic, has been put invariably upon woven cloths, 
but it is supposed the use of the woven cloths will be in a meas- 
ure discontinued, and the unwoven fibre substituted in their 
stead for the manufacture of caoutchouc fabrics. 

There are, however, certain uses of the knit goods, for which, 
on account of its elasticity, together with its strength, it will 
probably always have a decided preference over both the woven 
and the fibrous fabrics. Among these uses may be specified 
boots, shoes, gloves, mittens, some kinds of springs, and carriage 
. cloths. For further particulars, reference is made to the specifi- 
cation of Patent granted for these goods in the United States. 


When these fabrics were first made known, their novelty 
attracted much attention, being justly considered very curious. 
The inventor was indebted to this circumstance, as has been 
previously stated on page , for his success in drawing the at- 
tention, first of his friends, and afterwards of the public, to the 
more important discovery of vulcanized gum-elastic. 

The goods were first made of ribbons, and used for suspend- 
ers, not long after of silks and muslins. Shirred or corrugated 
goods have been used for springs of various kinds, besides sus- 
penders, particularly shoe and corset springs. 

The license for manufacturing this fabric was sold to Mr. H. 
H. Day, in 184 , since which time the manufacture of these 
goods has been exclusively in his hands. A brief description of 
the method of manufacturing them may be found in Chapter 



Packing is made of cotton, wool, or other fibrous substances, 
ground up with elastic compound. In consequence of the in- 
vention of this fabric, great economy is introduced into the 
manufacture of gum-elastic, as the scraps and sweepings of the 
factories, that were formerly thrown away, are now made into 
the best goods of this kind. This fabric is used for engine- 
packing, and deck-scrubs for ships. It is also generally used for 
the soles of gum over-shoes, for which it is preferred, being 
lighter, not so likely to slip, and more durable than soles made 
of gum-elastic only. 


India rubber fabrics are gritted with different substances for 
different purposes, with sand, as patented,* for car covering, &c., 
to prevent their being slippery, and also to prevent their igniting 
by sparks from the engine, and with emery, pumice, and other 
substances for buffing, sharpening edge tools, erasing pencil 
marks, &c. Recently some specimens have been made of gritted 
goods, which, it is supposed, will be used as a substitute for slates, 
memorandum paper, &c. 

The grit, of the kind required, is first ground and incorporated 
with the gum, after which the fabrics are coated with it in the 
usual way. 

• By Nelson Goodyear, brother of the writer. 



Specimens of India rubber cloths napped with woolen flocks, 
were manufactured by different persons as early as 1835, and 
before they were made by the writer. These goods decomposed 
like other India rubber goods of that time, only sooner than 
others, on account of their decomposition being accelerated by 
the oil in the wool. Napping has recently proved successful 
upon the heated vulcanized fabrics, and for many uses they 
are superior. For wearing apparel, they are more com- 
fortable and pleasant, and for blankets and imitation buffalo 
robes, they are warmer than India rubber goods that are not 
napped. The different fabrics are also, by being napped, made 
exactly suitable for the covering and protection of furniture, in 
such articles as table spreads, pianoforte covers, &;c. The 
different methods of napping are noticed under the head of 
Manufacture, Chap. X. 



The fabrics which are embossed with the greatest advantage, 
are gum-elastic veneers, plated goods, and vellum. 

This leaf is a specimen of the thinner sort of embossed vellum, 
such as is designed for pocket books, paper boxes, &c. The 
heavier kinds are made in imitation of morocco and leather, for 
book-binding, trunks, and other uses to which leather is applied. 

The art of embossing with cambrics, and other fabrics, was 
first adopted by the inventor in 1835, before the discovery of 
either the acid gas or the vulcanizing process. The method of 
embossing, which is described page , is of importance on 
account of its simplicity and cheapness, for although gum-elastic 
goods may be embossed with callenders, like leather or other 
fabrics, the figures cannot be made to endure the heat of the 
vulcanizing process so well in that way ; and the cost of the 
patterns, if embossed with callenders, is enormously increased 
by an expensively engraved callender, which is I'equired for 
each pattern. 

By the method of embossing with other stuffs, the figure is 
first transferred in the manner described, into a piece of India 
rubber fabric ; which, after it is vulcanized, answers all the pur- 
poses of a costly engraved metal callender, for embossing other 
India rubber fabrics. The original not being injured by the 
copying of it into gum-elastic, gives to this process the ad- 
vantage of an unlimited variety of styles and patterns, at a very 
trifling expense. 



The unique appearance of these goods may make them 
objectionable at first, as wearing apparel, and yet they are 
not more novel in that respect than many articles that be- 
come fashionable. When applied to horse blankets, tents, &c., 
there can be no objection of this sort. These goods are made 
of barred or corded vellum. The articles are perforated im- 
mediately underneath the bars or cords in different parts, 
according to the construction or use of the article ; a leaf or fly 
is cemented upon the bar or cord over the openings. The leaf 
or fly is a little raised by the bar or cord above the openings, 
so that perspiration can escape, while rain or wet is prevented 
from entering. The leaf or fly should in general be a little 
fulled on the upper edge, and tacked or cemented on the lower 
edge. For further description see diagrams. Vol. II., page 
Another kind of ventilated goods, such as pillows, cushions, life- 
preservers, &c., are ventilated by being perforated, as represented 
in the drawings of those articles, Vol. I., page 



Are made of the laminated fibrous fabrics, in a manner very 
similar to the method of manufacturing air-work, already de- 
scribed. The goods are quilted in any desired pattern, by cut- 
ting the patterns either by hand or machine punches, from bats of 
cotton or wool ; these are next placed upon the surface of the 
fabric, at the distance of from one eighth to one fourth of an inch 
apart ; another sheet of the fabric of the same size as the first, 
is then laid over the whole, and pressed down either by hand or 
by machinery, the callenders or rolls of which are covered with 
an elastic substance. The effect is that the two pieces of the 
fabric adhere together in the spaces between the patterns cut 
out of the wadding. 

If tubes are inserted into articles of this kind, they form the 
safest and best kind of air-work, with the exception that the 
goods made in this way are not quite so light and portable as 
those which are inflated with air only. These goods have, how- 
ever, one recommendation, which is of more importance than 
portability or lightness ; they are safe, and may be depended on 
as life-preservers. 

A newly invented description of garments are made in this 
manner, which are convenient to be worn, and yet may be con- 
sidered infallible life-preservers, whether they are inflated by the 
tubes or not. Air is necessarily inclosed in the cells of these 
garments with the wadding, in the manufacture. A cape, coat, 
or poncho, which is divided into a thousand cells or compart- 
ments, might be damaged or perforated in five hundred different 
places, and it would yet infallibly prevent the wearer from 
sinking in the water. For further description see Vol. II., 



These are made either from the laminated fibrous fabrics, 
or drapery. A peculiarity of all these fabrics is, that they may 
be pierced without any material injury as to strength, and the 
fibrous fabrics will not fray or ravel as the coated cloths would 
do, if pierced in the same way. Some of the uses which are 
contemplated for these goods, are shoe-springs, bandages, sieves, 
cullenders, strainers, bolting cloths, &c. It may also be substi- 
tuted, in a great many cases, if not very generally, for woven 
wire cloth. Besides these uses, there are others which it is 
thought will become yet more important in their application to 
shoes, gloves, and wearing apparel. Perforating the goods will, 
of course, chiefly destroy their water-proof quality. Durability, 
cleanliness and economy would, however, be the object contem- 
plated in the use of these fabrics. 



This article, or at least its application as a substitute for leather 
for machine cards, is originally an English invention. It was 
first made of the native gum by cementing a number of woven 
cloths together. Beside being used for the above purpose, it has 
been found useful, when vulcanized, for some descriptions of 
light belting, and particularly for the rail way belts of cotton 
carding machines. 


Cloths of every description may be coated with compound 
when it is desirable to make them water-proof or very durable, 
with greater or less advantage. 

The writer considers them generally less useful than the 
laminated fibrous fabrics called tissue, vellum, and plated fabrics, 
although some of them, particularly very light silks, have the 
advantage of greater strength in proportion to their weight, and 
they can also be wrought into different articles by stitching, 
better than the fibrous fabrics, which is often a convenience 
to the purchaser. 

The uses of these cloths are already so well known, and their 
application is so often referred to in the following pages, that a 
further description here is considered unnecessary. 



Probably no new property has ever been given to caoutchouc 
fabrics, which will serve so much to extend the use of them, as 
that of porousness. That which has been chiefly aimed at 
heretofore, has been to make their water- and air-proof qualities 
to the greatest extent available. The idea was never, until 
recently, entertained of making the goods porous, so that they 
might be used instead of leather for shoes for constant weai', 
and also for clothing and other purposes. 

But now that such a fabric is produced, that is pervious to 
air and impervious to water, when not under pressure, (two 
properties which are not found united in any other fabric,) it is 
not easy to foretell how far the use of gum-elastic may be ex- 
tended by the introduction of this improvement. 

Any one who will consider the subject attentively, may per- 
ceive that there is very much needed, especially for the poorer 
classes, some cheap and durable fabric, which will not be easily 
soiled, and which will not, like cotton and woolen fabrics, accu- 
mulate filth when brought in contact with it ; making it neces- 
sary to submit them to the cleansing process of scouring and 
washing, which is commonly attended with much expense of 
time and money. The writer anticipates a material or fabric 
in the porous cloths, which will in a great measure, if not 
wholly, meet the want which is so obvious, and which will give 
to the humble and laborious classes of mankind all the advan- 
tages of cleanliness and decent apparel, that are now enjoyed 
by those having ample means. 

The materials of the fibrous, the plated, and the porous fab- 
rics are the same, and the method of manufacturing them is the 
same, except that the gum is applied in the case of porous 
fabrics in a more liquid state than is done when the same 
fabrics are made impervious. They are made more or less 
porous, at the option of the manufacturer, by the gum being 


made more or less liquid. Porous fabrics may also be made by 
mixing with the compounds substances that are soluble in 
water, which can be dissolved out. 


These are of three kinds. The first consists of fibrous fabrics, 
silks, and other fancy stuffs, which are printed and afterwards 
coated over with a thin coat of gum-elastic cement. 

The second kind consists of maps, globes, charts, carpeting, 
table and piano covers, &c., which are printed or painted by 
different methods, upon the various India rubber fabrics, and 
being coated over in the manner before alluded to, the printing 
and painting become indelible in every sense of the word ; so 
much so, that they cannot be altered or removed by any art 
of chemistry, without destroying the fabric. 

The third kind consists of carpeting, &c., in which the pat- 
terns, or figures, or colors, are applied with a brush, or by sten- 
ciling, the coloring material being a thick cement of dissolved 

This is an art which has not yet been practiced to any con- 
siderable extent, but enough has been done with it to give 
assurance that it will prove of great utility, when carried on 



The high lustre which has recently been given to the sur- 
face of vulcanized fabrics, renders the use of these fabrics of 
less importance for japanners, than was at first anticipated, 
and also obviates the necessity of their being finished by japan- 
ning. Cord ware and wicker-work may yet be japanned to ad- 
vantage, for although the vulcanized fabrics are made with a high 
finish, equal in appearance to the oil japan, yet the finish has 
not the brittle hardness or lustre of the oil, and is more easily 
scratched than the oil japan. 


These goods are made of elastic compound, and consist of 
balls, toys, breast-pumps, bottles, and a variety of other articles, 
described hereafter among the applications. 

The goods are vulcanized in moulds, and by the expansion of 
the air within the articles while heating, they are caused to fill 
the moulds, which may be made of any shape, and of a figured 
surface if required. 

The moulds are commonly made either of block-tin or cast- 
iron. The number and variety of this class of articles has been 
greatly increased by the moulding and heating of gum-elastic 
sponge, which is found to answer for many uses better than ar- 
ticles which are quite hollow. From present appearances we 
may venture the opinion, that the articles of gum-elastic hollow 
ware will become as numerous as those made of iron. 




This ware is made of vellum cord, which is commonly wound 
closely upon a pattern or form of the article designed to be made. 
When the shape of the article is irregular, or larger at the bot- 
tom than at the top, the form is made in pieces like a hatter's 
block, so that they can be easily removed. Before being wound, 
the patterns or forms are covered with gum-elastic vellum or 
plated fabrics, so as to form a smooth surface for the inside of 
the articles, as well as to strengthen them by holding the cord 
together ; for these purposes, the cord is sometimes flattened or 
made half round or square. 

A great variety of articles are made in this way, such as 
buckets, bowls, ewers, trunks, valises, hat-boxes, &c. Articles 
are more expeditiously made in this way, and they are much 
more durable when so made, than the same articles are when 
made of coated canvas ; vellum cord being better calculated to 
resist the kind of damage to which such articles are commonly 


These goods are made by covering metal wires with a num- 
ber of thicknesses of vellum ; these may be twisted or laid and 
cemented together so as to form a strong rope or strap ; the 
strength of metal wire is made available in this way, the wire 
being kept by the elasticity of the gum from being bent so short 
as to break. The single cords, w^hen netted or braided like 
wicker-work, or wound like cord ware, make a description of 
articles of the most substantial kind, such as the water-hose and 
mail-bags, described among the applications. Vol. II., which, in 
addition to the common advantages claimed for other articles 

AIR -WORK. 207 

of tlie kind, have one peculiar to themselves, that they cannot 
be cut with a knife. Under the above head may very properly 
be included some articles such as trunks, boxes, &c., which are 
strengthened by having combined with them straps, or pieces of 
iron, which are first covered with gum-elastic vellum, or tissue. 
Some of these articles will be found described in Vol. 11. 


Wicker-work is made in the same manner as the cord ware 
already described, except that the vellum cord is braided or 
woven chiefly by hand, in open-work, into baskets and such 
-Other articles' as are commonly made of willow. When lined 
with gum-elastic vellum, the same are substituted for baskets 
lined with tin or zinc. 

The advantages proposed by this description of ware, are du- 
rability and cleanliness. The more bulky articles of this sort 
may be made by covering rattan, reeds, or willow, with vellum. 
Among other things, a very light and durable row-boat may be 
made of lined wicker-work. 


This is a term which has been technically applied to all arti- 
cles that are inflated with air, such as beds, pillows, cushions, 
life-preservers, &c. Some observations upon this kind of work, 
and descriptions of many articles such as have formerly been 

made, may be found in Vol. II., page . But the work which 

is particularly referred to here, and is thought to be entitled to a 
description as a separate class of goods, is of a very different 
kind, and but recently invented. 

The simplicity, cheapness and completeness of these goods 

©@^a ~~" ~ 


is attained, in consequence of the previous invention of the 
fibrous fabrics, and the gum-elastic tube, described in Vol 11., page 

. The method of manufacturing these goods is as follows : 

The patterns which form the cells, or air chambers of these 
goods, are cut from napped gum-elastic tissue, of any form to 
suit the fancy, but more commonly in rings, squares, or diamond 
patterns. These are laid between two pieces of gum-elastic 
tissue, vellum, or vegetable leather, in pairs, with the napped 
sides of the patterns placed together ; the effect is, that when the 
two fabrics between which they are placed are pressed together, 
one of the patterns will adhere to the upper, the other to the 
lower piece of fabric. The two patterns are prevented from 
adhering together, by the nap on the surface ; conductors of the 
same material are placed between the cells, to connect them all 
together, to be inflated by one tube ; or in separate rows, to be 
inflated by a number of tubes, or one tube for each row of cells ; 
thereby rendering the article more safe. When the two pieces 
of fabric are pressed together, they adhere only between the 
cells, by which means the article is formed into as many com- 
partments as there are patterns. Two pieces of the fabrics, of 
from thirty to fifty yards, is first covered with the patterns, so 
placed as to form the bed, life-preserver, or other article de- 
signed to be made ; another piece of the same width and length 
is placed upon them, the two are pressed together by hand rollers, 
or what is much more expeditious, being passed between callen- 
ders, covered with an elastic substance, the articles are formed 
and ready to be cut apart, when, after the tubes are inserted, and 
they are vulcanized, the articles are finished. 

Those who are acquainted with the manner in which air-work 
has to be constructed, when it is made of coated cloths, will at 
once perceive that great complexity of workmanship is obviated, 
as well as material saved, by the method above described ; and 
as these goods may, like shirred goods, be made by machinery, 
with great rapidity, it may reasonably be expected that a com- 
plete change will hereby be effected, both in the first cost and 
quality of air work. 



The art of cutting the native gum into threads, was first prac- 
ticed in Europe, where machinery was invented for the purpose. 
The native gum bottles were pressed out to a flat surface, and 
threads were cut from the circular pieces. Beside being used 
for the manufacture of braided and wound cord, these threads 
were also used without covering, as a warp for making woolen 
and cotton stuffs elastic. It can, however, answer the latter 
purpose very imperfectly, compared with its use for the small arti- 
cles that are less exposed to perspiration. It is well known that 
thread of native gum, such as here alluded to, soon loses its 
elasticity when exposed to perspiration, and also by long contin- 
used tension ; which difficulties are obviated in the heated or 
vulcanized thread. The threads of vulcanized gum-elastic are 
cut with machinery very different from that used for the native 
gum, as represented in No. . They are cut from sheets of 
about a yard in width, of any thickness or length desired. This 
thread answers all the purposes for which that of the native gum 
was used, and many others for which the native gum does not 
answer at all. 

When spun and twisted in a green or unheated state, before 
being vulcanized, this cord makes a very superior and durable 
article for fringes, tassels, &c. It will, for such purposes, pos- 
sess the advantage over common stuffs, of durability, and not 
being liable to soil. It is also sometimes used for covering 
small phials and bottles, instead of vellum cord. 


The manufacture of elastic cord covered with cotton and silk 
thread, was established in France and England long before it 

B i?c 


was attempted in America. It has been successfully prosecuted 
in those countries, where various useful articles have also been 
made and continue to be made from the native gum 

The objections to the native gum do not apply to these goods 
with the same force as to articles in which the gum is not cov- 
ered, because, as in the case of the Mcintosh goods, the gum is 
protected from destructive agents by the various fabrics with 
which it is covered ; the improvement of the vulcanized gum- 
elastic is therefore not so indispensable to them as to the other 

The method of manufacturing, is to wind or braid over the 
gum after it is cut into thread, with silk or cotton, by which 
bounds are set to its elasticity, and greater strength given to it 
at the point of its greatest tension. This is done by machinery 
such as has been long used for braiding whips, &c. This braid 
is ingeniously applied to the manufacture of braces, and of many 
small but useful articles, such as watch-guards, shawl pins, um- 
brella ties, &c. 


Is made of elastic compound. On account of the great diffi- 
culty, if not the utter impossibility of splicing or securing it by 
any fastening after it is vulcanized, it is necessary that it should 
be made up at the manufactories, into the articles for which it 
is used, with the fastenings attached. It might, therefore, be 
treated of as a heavier description of spring, with equal propri- 
ety as cordage. 

This cordage is designed to be used in connection with hemp 
ropes or cables, to ease off the strain which would otherwise 
come upon them too suddenly. For further explanation see 
diagram, Vol. II., page 




This is made of different kinds of thread, twine, rope, or 
annealed wire, according to the use for which it is intended. 
These are first coated with Hquid compound cement, and then 
wound or rolled with a covering of vellum or tissue, tissue 
being used for the lighter, and vellum for the heavier kinds. 

It has been suggested by nautical men, although it has not yet 
been proved by trial, that it would answer well for standing rig- 
ging, and other purposes on ship board. It is also designed for 
canal drag-ropes, seine twine, clothes-lines, and, briefly, for all 
uses where ropes are much exposed to wet, and where the first 
cost is not a'consideration, which will, for this article, be greater 
than for common rope. 

This description of cordage is used for some articles described 
hereafter, where great strength is required, instead of the cord 
composed entirely of vellum. 


There are two methods of manufacturing this article : one is 
that of cutting either by hand or machinery, and rolling up strips 
of gum-elastic tissue or vellum into cord of any size desired. 
The other is that of pressing the vegetable leather of a suitable 
thickness, by grooved call^nders, into cord of the size required. 
It has not sufficient strength to be used for many purposes by 
itself, without combining with metal wire, or flax, hemp or cot- 
ton twine. Its chief use is for the covering of glass and earthen 
ware, for the manufacture of cord ware, and other articles here- 
after described among the numerous applications. 



This article is of any size or siiape required, and is made non- 
elastic when desired, by a cord or wire in the middle. It is 
manufactured either by cutting it from sheets of sponge fabric, 
or forming it vvith^ grooved calenders, or it may be more perfectly 
formed in moulds like hollow ware. Its most important, if not 
its principal uses, will probably be that of caulking between the 
planking and boarding of floors and vessels, and the making of 
trunks and packing boxes water and air tight, for the packing of 
doors and window-sashes, and coach and car window-sashes. 
See Vol. II., page 




Caoutchouc enamel. Ivory. Buck-horn. Whalebone. Boards. Veneers. Enameled ware. 

Before it was found that gum-elastic and gutta-percha, in 
combination with other gums and resins, could be heated, so 
as to form a hard compound, the greater portion of this work 
was written and stereotyped. It was, however, felt that a sub- 
stance was much to be desired which might be substituted for 
bone, whalebone, buffalo-horn, and ivory, (all of which are 
gradually becoming scarce,) and one which could be moulded 
like gum-elastic or gutta percha ; and it was anticipated that 
if this object should be attained, great improvements in many 
arts and manufactures would probably result from such dis- 
covery. These anticipations have been more than realized, by 
means of a hard compound of heated caoutchouc. Although the 
manufacture is as yet no further advanced than to produce an 
assortment of specimens, their importance is evidently such that 
they deserve to hold a prominent place in treating of the prop- 
erties of heated gum-elastic. 

Owing to the difficulty of applying one term to these com- 
pounds, which will give a correct idea of their various proper- 
ties, they are treated of as imitations of the following substances, 
namely, enamel, ivory, buck-horn, whalebone, etc. They 
not only make good imitations of these materials in appearance, 
but they are also in reality superior in quality, in some respects, 
to the natural substances. 

The hardest of these compounds resembles marble ;* that 
which is less hard, ivory and buck-horn ; that which is still 

* For the modification which gives it its extreme hardness, the writer is indebted in good peirt 
to his younger brother, Nelson Goodyear. 


S:^9 — 



softer, buffalo-horn and whalebone ; while they possess, in 
general, more durable properties than any of the substances 
above named, except marble, and they are even more sub- 
stantial than that, in some respects ; because, in all degrees of 
hardness, they have a great degree of toughness or tenacity, and 
the property of retaining the shape into which they have been 
moulded and heated. 

Glass and the metals are too heavy for many small or hght 
articles of convenience, too much so for some for which they 
are used Bone and horn are worked and finished with diffi- 
culty, while this material is worked and finished simply by 
moulding. Whalebone and ivory are every day becoming more 
scarce, and these also are manufactured with great difficulty 
and great waste, in comparison vi^ith this material. 


This term is applied to this substance, because it is the hard- 
est of all the hard heated compounds, and because the ingredi- 
ents differ materially from those of the substances which are 
hereafter noticed as ivory and whalebone. 

The process by which they are all made is the same. The 
principal difference is in the addition of a considerable portion of 
oxide of magnesia, iron, white lead, or other metal, with a larger 
proportion of sulphur in compounding the marble. It is some- 
what more brittle than the India rubber ivory, and does not an- 
swer for all purposes so well, but it will unquestionably be found 
to answer, in many cases, where a substance is desired which is 
very hard, and yet not so heavy or brittle as porcelain or mar- 
ble ; it is not yet made so white as porcelain, but admits of col- 
oring, moulding, and variegating, like the other hard compounds. 
The most important uses of this enamel are probably the plating 
or covering of iron furniture, coach and harness mountings, &c. 




This material differs from the marble before described, in 
being compounded with less metal and sulphur, and not so 
hard ; and yet it is solid enough to receive the finest polish. 
It is not affected, like ivory, horn, or buffalo horn, by being 
boiled in hot water, and resists the action of oils, acids, and 
other destructive agents, like glass. On account of the econ- 
omy and facility with which it is moulded, the manufacture of it 
is not attended with waste of material like that of bone, buffalo 
horn, and ivory. The cost of it per pound is about the same as 
the cost of the other gum-elastic compounds, and it contains 
about the same proportion of gum-elastic as the vulcanized car- 
springs. To attempt to enumerate all the articles to which it is 
supposed it may be economically and profitably applied, is im- 
possible and unnecessary. It is certainly well adapted, and 
perhaps better, all things considered, than any other substance, 
to make the handles of table cutlery, for the reason that they 
can be put on while in an adhesive state, and vulcanized so that 
they will not come off". It is also well adapted to make fine 
brush handles, fancy boxes, and numerous other articles that are 
now made of bone, buffalo horn, and ivory. 

How far it may be substituted for veneers and fine wood, in 
the manufacture of musical instruments and fine furniture, and 
to what extent it may be applied to these and other uses, on 
account of its being more substantial, and not being liable to 
crack or warp by the changes of temperature, is a matter of 
curious inquiry.* 

Many special advantages maybe obtained from this substance, 
on account of the facility of uniting or cementing it as part and 
parcel with the softer fabrics, in the same way as peculiar ad- 

* Some new and peculiar methods of using veneers of this material for furniture may be found 
Vol. II., Chapter ,and also a novel method for the manufacture of musical instruments of 

this new material, Chapter 


vantages are obtained from uniting or welding hard steel with 
soft iron. 

This is exemplified in its use for the mouth of a bottle, the tube 
of a globe or life-preserver, where it is first cemented to, and 
afterwards vulcanized with the article, in which case it becomes 
a substitute for metal, far better than metal, because it does not 
corrode, and is perfectly joined, so as to form part and parcel 
of the article. 

Some of the advantages anticipated from its peculiar proper- 
ties, are alluded to as relates to various articles which are speci- 
fied in the second volume of this work. For further explanation 
of the method of uniting the hard to the elastic and flexible 
fabrics, see Vol. II., Chapter XII., MiHtary Caps ; and Chapter 
XX., Skates. 


The same substance which has been described as imitation 
ivory, makes, also, when pressed in moulds, a good imitation of 
buck-horn, which will answer all the purposes to which buck 
horn is applied. 


In the manufacture of the hard substances which have been 
described, it is not surprising that between the very hard com- 
pounds, or India rubber porcelain and ivory, and the very soft 
one of drapery, there should be produced a material which re- 
sembles whalebone very closely. This substance has the pecu- 
liar odor of horn or whalebone. The ingredients and proportions 
differ very little from those of the ivory ; a greater degree of 
heat, however, is required in the manufacture of the whalebone. 





There is good reason to suppose that this substance will be 
found to answer not only the general purposes of whalebone, 
but also those of horn and shell for hair and dressing combs, and 
other uses. 

It may be made into sheets or forms of any size or shape 
desired, by moulding ; for which reason it can be used for nu- 
merous purposes for which whalebone can not be used. The 
advantages which, from present appearances, may be antici- 
pated with certainty in the substitution of this substance for 
whalebone, are the following, viz. : the quality of the caout- 
chouc whalebone is superior, the facility of working it much 
greater, besides the first cost being considerably less than that 
of whalebone. 


The ingredients of the compound and their proportions are 
the same for deal boards as for caoutchouc whalebone, and they 
are vulcanized with the same degree of heat. They are formed 
of alternate layers or sheets of the compound and cloth or can- 
vas, until the desired thickness is obtained, commonly with the 
cloth outside upon one or both the surfaces of the board ; or the 
board may be formed by coating the cloth, and afterwards 
splicing the different thicknesses together. A plastic wood or 
flexible board is thus formed, having the properties of caout- 
chouc whalebone, and on some accounts preferable to it, being 
cheaper for the same amount of bulk and strength ; besides it 
can be worked or formed into articles after it is vulcanized, in 
some ways that the whalebone cannot, as it may be stitched or 
cemented together for boats, trunks, boxes, &c., on account of 
its being formed with cloth, and having cloth upon the outside. 



Perfect imitations of rosewood and other fine veneers are 
made from the hard compounds, and varieties of color may be 
produced such as are not found in any of the ornamental 
woods. They may be made without seam to any pattern ; so 
that there is no waste in working in applying it. They are 
sometimes made with cloth on the back, which renders 'them 
strong enough for many articles, boxes, &c., without any frame- 
work of wood ; in this case, however, especially where the 
cloth is a thick one, the substance might more properly be 
called caoutchouc pasteboard or whalebone. The superiority 
of these veneers is greatest where wood is most defective, since 
they are no way liable to warp or crack in the hottest room, 
and the facility and cheapness with which they are applied, 
together with little or no labor in finishing, renders the exten- 
sive use of caoutchouc for veneers a matter of certainty. 


This title includes a very large assortment of articles, such as 
carriage and harness mountings, and a great variety of articles 
of hardware, which are commonly plated, tinned, japanned, or 
covered with leather ; and many articles commonly made of 
wood, earthen, porcelain, and glass. Various materials may be 
covered with caoutchouc enamel advantageously : by it iron is 
protected from rust, glass and crockery from breaking, and wood 
is rendered stronger and more ornamental. In the manufacture 
of enameled ware, the caoutchouc material is first applied in 
the green or plastic state to the iron or other foundation mate- 
rial, and the whole article thus combined is submitted to a high 
degree of heat, by means of which the materials are firmly 
united together and the enamel surface obtained. 




The author adopts the plan of granting licenses to manufacturers, who stamp all articles made 
under the various patents with the author's name. Advantages and disadvantages resulting 
from the plan adopted. Remarks on the want of security to inventors by the present patent 
laws. New articles to be presented to the public. The utility of these articles iu the advance- 
ment of education, and preservation of hfe, health and property. 

It may seem to be of little consequence to the public to know 
what are the plans of an individual, but it may be of importance 
to him that they should be known, when their execution depends 
upon the co-operation of others. If they are reasonable and 
just, and the interests of others as well as his own are involved, 
especially if their utility be susceptible of demonstration, the 
interests of the subject may be advanced by their publication. 

Enough has been said of the obstacles which were encountered 
in first bringing the discovery of vulcanized gum-elastic to the 
notice of the public, and in its successful application to the 
articles that were first made of the substance ; but it is thought 
that justice to the subject demands that a statement should be 
made of the causes that have continued to operate, since the 
time of the discovery, against the progress of the art. 

Previous to the discovery of the vulcanizing process before 
described, and for several years after the writer began his ex- 
pei'iments, he entertained the idea of carrying on the business, 
and of establishing a reputation for himself as a manufacturer of 

Subsequent to the discovery, however, upon taking a survey 




of what remained to be done to perfect the prominent fabrics, 
and extend the apphcation of the discovery, the extent of which 
he did not, even then, fully understand, he abandoned the idea of 
all practical operations as a regular manufacturer, and has since 
that time confined himself, with a fixed purpose, to perfecting a 
series of improvements, embracing the various processes, and 
so far as possible, all the important fabrics and the most im- 
portant applications of them, so as to form a connected system 
of inventions, and to render their application as practicable 
and perfect as the nature of the substance would permit. 

In pursuance of this plan he has granted licenses under his 
patents, for some few branches of the manufacture, which were 
first appreciated, and with which the public were familiar. 
These branches have for the most part been conducted with 
credit, as well as profit, to the manufacturers, embracing in all, 
at this time, (1851,) some twenty establishments for the manu- 
facture of heated or vulcanized gum-elastic, conducted by cor- 
porations or individuals, under his patents, with the stipulation 
that the stamp of the patent should be put upon the articles, as 
the patent law requires. 

In consequence of this public use of his name, it has been 
erroneously supposed that he pursued the business as a manufac- 
turer of the goods that are so stamped. This is a mistake which 
needs to be corrected. The whole manufacture, under these 
patents, is now conducted by licensees, in different parts of the 
United States, as advertised by them, and as the labels of their 
articles indicate. It would be the wish of the writer to pursue the 
calling of a manufacturer of gum-elastic, as a means by which he 
might hope to establish a better reputation for the manufacture 
than others will be likely to establish for it, did not circum- 
stances conspire to prevent this ; but he must content himself to 
leave the manufacture to be pursued by others, hoping to obtain 
such compensation from them as will enable him to devote the 
remainder of his life, (so far as feeble health and a constitution 
broken by too close application to the labors of experimenting 
will permit,) to making application of this substance to the use- 




ful purposes and inventions,whichwouldotherwise probably escape 
the notice and attention of others, as the original discovery might 
have done had it been sought after with less enthusiasm by the 
writer. Tlie granting of licenses to others has been attended 
with much harm, as well as many advantages, in bringing the 
manufacture into notice. A great number of establishments, 
with means to operate, have accomplished much more in a 
practical way, within the time, than one individual with limited 
means could have done ; but on the other hand there was danger 
that the reputation of the invention would suffer from so many 
persons, unacquainted with the manufacture, being engaged in 
bringing it forward. Thus it has suffered much harm in various 
ways, and oftentimes the credit of the invention has suffered 
from a wrong or defective mechanical construction of the 
articles, when the quality of the materials were otherwise 
good. Articles of various sorts have been very imperfectly 
vulcanized, (many of which were made for the Government 
of the United States,) insomuch that the credit of the discovery, 
in some places, has been much impaired, or nearly lost for a 
time, and nothing but its real merit could have sustained it 
under such disadvantages. These, however, are accidents to 
which all manufactures, and especially all new manufactures, 
are liable ; for the writer there was no alternative but to intro- 
duce his inventions by the granting of licenses. On the whole, 
as the inventor anticipated, the good predominates ; the dangers 
which threatened have passed by, and there are now twenty ex- 
perienced establishments engaged in the manufacture, where 
otherwise there would have been but one. By pursuing this 
course the inventor has been enabled to devote himself to per- 
fecting the processes, inventions, and fabrics appertaining to the 

In the further prosecution of his plans, a serious obstacle was 
presented by the conflicting of his views with those of his asso- 
ciates, as well as his counsel. 

In the attempt to prosecute any enterprise, where there is a 
want of facilities for carrying it on, and especially an untried 


enterprise, where there is a want of knowledge with regard to 
it, no obstacles are more directly calculated to hinder its success, 
than those connected with the differences of opinion between 
the projector of the enterprise and his associates. 

In this instance, having observed the embarrassments of the 
inventor in consequence of his protracted experiments, the licen- 
sees engaged in the manufacture of those branches which were 
already appreciated, with the determination to avoid, as far as 
possible, all experiments. This was prudent as related to their 
pecuniary interests, but was a serious hindrance to the develop- 
ment of the whole subject. 

Although the writer had taken the precaution to stipulate with 
the Naugatuck Company, which was the first company licensed, 
that they should manufacture the various articles which should be 
suggested by him for the purpose of developing the applications, 
and aiding to carry out his plans ; the difficulty of making his 
views to bear upon the minds of others was such, that he was 
virtually compelled to relinquish the claim he had upon the 
company to do this. With kind intentions, no doubt, they, 
together with his other friends, earnestly deprecated his devoting 
moi^e time or money to experiments, and constantly urged him 
to turn his attention to obtaining a pecuniary compensation 
from the branches already established. 

The articles first manufactured of the new substance by these 
licensees, were suspenders, shoes, and elastics, with some descrip- 
tions of clothing. These branches were appreciated and en- 
gaged in sooner than other equally useful, if not more important 
uses of gum-elastic ; for the reason that the public had become 
acquainted with their utility and value, by the previous use of 
the native gum for these purposes. 

The manufacture of these articles being found lucrative to 
the licensees of the inventor, who assumed the business, they 
pursued it with a laudable enthusiasm. The whole subject, as 
might be expected, appeared to them to be embraced in those 
branches in which they were engaged. In their view, and that of 
the public, the invention was considered as complete, when it 


answered the purposes to which it was then applied ; while the 
successful application of the substances to these purposes, only 
gave assurance to the inventor that it was fairly commenced, 
and that these were but small items in the account of its utility, 
or the units in the sum of its value. Although, as now fully ap- 
pears, the importance of those branches was in no degree over- 
rated by them or the public, yet the proportionate value as 
relates to the whole invention was over estimated. 

While the manufacturers were engaged with difficulties which 
are always to be encountered in rendering a new business pro- 
ductive, it could not be reasonably expected that they would 
enter very cordially into the plans of another, which could not 
be fully explained until they were further advanced, or forego 
the advantages which were certain to forward the wishes of 
another, when it was perfectly understood that the projector 
intended to reserve to himself the control and direction of those 
projects if they were successful. Consequently, the interests and 
the views of the inventor and the licensees became almost 
diametrically opposed to each other. 

While the licensees were desirous of the inventor's co-opera- 
tion in forwarding the branches of the business, which were 
already developed, and his counsel insisted upon the importance 
of his devoting his time and services for the defence of his legal 
claims, he deemed it of the first importance to complete his plan 
of improvement. It will therefore be readily perceived, that the 
very success of the discovery, as applied to the few articles that 
were perfected, presented one chief obstacle to the further 
development of the subject, and led them into the mistake of 
attributing the views of the inventor, and his persisting to con- 
tinue his experiments, to an inveterate propensity for in- 
venting, and a fondness for new things. He now hopes to be 
better understood, and to have attributed to him the wish to 
perform a duty which he felt had been allotted to him, rather than 
any desire for the unenviable distinction of an inventor. 

Without assuming any thing, the writer may say that a com- 
prehensive view of the subject was taken by himself; and, being 


confident that no greater improvement could be made in gum- 
elastic than was wrought by the heating or vulcanizing, and 
the acid gas processes ; and, as has been stated, relinquishing 
the idea of becoming a manufacturer, he became the more 
anxious to make such use of his opportunities as would enable 
him to complete a system of the inventions in gum-elastic, so 
that those persons who might in future assume to conduct the 
manufacture under his improvements, would at least have a field 
for extending a manufacture, in which they would not be exposed 
to impediments in their progress from subsequent improvements 
and patents by others, he having made it an invariable rule thus 
far, to put them in possession of all subsequent improvements 
of his own, upon the things licensed, without charge. 

It has been a prominent object with the writer, to make this 
manufacture not only one of general utility, but of national in- 
terest in his own, as well as in foreign countries ; and it has 
always been the intention of the inventor to introduce his im- 
provements into foreign countries, when completed ; the attempt 
to introduce them prematurely would have been prejudicial to 
his interests, and the completion of them in any other sphere 
than that in which they were commenced, if not impossible, 
would have been delayed longer than they have been by the 
hindrances spoken of There was, therefore, no alternative for 
the inventor, but to persevere in his course under the disadvan- 
tages which have been stated. 

It is believed that the series of improvements in gum-elastic, 
under consideration, are now so far completed, that when the 
facts and advantages connected with them are fairly presented 
and investigated by the public, the attention, skill and capital 
which is necessary, will be appropriated to them, and that this 
branch of business will be looked upon as an important and 
staple branch of industry, in all civilized countries. 

The adaptation of gum-elastic, and many of the fabrics made 
of it, to military, maritime and naval purposes, is remarked 
upon in connection with the description of these articles. That 
they are of great value for many of these uses, there can be no 



question ; especially is this the case in those countries where the 
navies and the armies are large. The nature of the substance 
makes it peculiarly adapted to those countries where there is the 
widest lield for its appropriate use. Influenced by these consid- 
erations, the movements of the inventor have been governed in 
reference to preparing for its introduction into those countries. 

The applications of a material like this, in all its combinations, 
to the various articles required for the use of the different de- 
partments of government, is an object that might well demand 
the efforts of a lifetime. It is, however, believed that the design 
of the writer to do this has been so nearly accomplished, that 
there is no sufficient reason for delaying longer a statement of 
his views ; and also that the series of improvements in vul- 
canized gum-elastic is so far completed, that his purposes can 
be satisfactorily explained, and that what remains to be done 
can be accomplished with much less hindrance than has hereto- 
fore attended his efforts. The writer is fully aware that reason- 
able objections may be made to the extension of government 
patronage, and especially that of a republican government, to 
particular branches of industry ; and that it is deemed impolitic 
for governments to manufacture those articles which can be 
made by private individuals. The objections, however, apply 
more particularly to those articles which are used in common, 
both by the government and the people. But it may be said 
that it has been found expedient for governments themselves to 
make those articles which are needed only for government pur- 
poses ; not only such as ships and fire-arms, but also cordage 
and other equipments, made at their public docks and ship- 
yards. Upon like grounds it may be urged, that many of the 
navy, maritime and military articles now made, and proposed 
to be made of this substance, are of a class demanded specially 
for government uses, and therefore deserving their attention. 

If it is admitted that the substance is adapted to a small part 
only of the equipments, and other articles enumerated under the 
heads of maritime, naval, and military articles, and also that it is 
adapted to ships' sails, mail-bags, life-boats, and the general pur- 


poses for which leather is used, the subject must address itself 
forcibly to all interested in affairs of government in any country. 
The articles before enumerated, and also carpeting, tissue, and 
vegetable leather, being made of raw cotton, in combination 
with gum-elastic, an additional argument will be presented to 
the government of the United States, in favor of its use, as 
connected with the great cotton interests of the South. 

Individuals of the mercantile classes, finding it more lucrative 
to follow the demands of the market, are not induced to make 
experiments for government purposes ; and, beside, they have 
generally less information respecting the wants of govern- 
ment, than the officers and engineers in its service. A branch 
of business like this, therefore, is not so likely to be de- 
veloped for the purposes of government, without its special 

The writer cannot doubt that after sufficient opportunity for 
examination of the facts presented, the subject will obtain even 
from a republican government, that consideration which it so 
justly merits. 

There is a portion of this subject in which the writer feels a 
deep and absorbing interest, and one to which he would be glad 
to devote himself in the evening of his life, should that be spared 
beyond its meridian, and also one which he would take delight 
in as a manufacturer ; which is, its philanthropic and humane 
department, comprising articles for the preservation of life and 
property. There is danger, even now, notwithstanding all that 
has been done, that it will be too much neglected, in comparison 
with other branches of this manufacture, which, although per- 
haps more immediately available in a pecuniary point of view, 
are of much less importance. There is great danger that this 
part of the subject will not be sufficiently understood, and so 
far appreciated, as to be developed so that the present generation 
can be benefitted by it, as they otherwise might and should be. 
That the attention of the reader and the public may be drawn to 
this particular subject, I have classed all the articles under one 
head, that appeared to me to be of prominent importance in this 


department of the business, in the chapter on "Articles for the 
preservation of Hfe and property." 

The inventor would here appeal to mankind in general, by- 
affirming that there is no real necessity for such constant loss of 
life and property, by the sea and waters, as annually occurs. 
A proper investigation and public trial of the articles proposed, 
by a competent commission appointed for the purpose, will 
demonstrate the truth of what is here stated. What! must 
men continue to be drowned because their fathers were! must 
treasures continue to go to the bottom of the deep because there 
are offices where they can be insured ! The loss to the world 
on that account is none the less, and such a state of things in 
the present age need not, and ought not, to exist. 

The articles classed as educational, by which the cause of 
education may be materially advanced, as well as those belong- 
ing to the medical department, whereby suffering humanity may 
be relieved in numerous ways, deserve especial notice ; and it is 
to be hoped that at no distant day the public mind will be roused 
to apprehend the importance of these inventions, and that when 
duly appreciated, the manufacture will be prosecuted, either by 
individual or public enterprise, with capital and energies com- 
mensurate with their importance. Nor is there any good reason 
to doubt that the manufacture of these classes of goods might be 
made a source of profit to those engaged in the manufacture, as 
well as a benefit to mankind. 



" All things, rare or gross, own one common Father. 
Truly spake Wisdom, There is nothing new under the sun : 
We only arrange and combine the ancient elements of all things. 
Invention is activity of mind, as fire is air in motion. 
A sharpening of the spiritual sight, to discern hidden aptitudes. 
From the basket and acantlius, is modeled the graceful capital : 
The shadowed profile on the wall helpeth the limner to his likeness: 
The footmarks stamped in clay, lead on the thoughts to printing ; 
The strange skin garments cast upon the shore suggest another hemisphere: 
A falling apple taught the sage pervading gravitation ; 
The Huron is certain of his prey, from tracks upon the grass ; 
And shrewdness-, guessing on the hint, followeth on the trail : 
But the hint must be given, the trail must be there, or the keenest sight is as blindness." 

Proverbial Philosophy. 

It is no easy matter either to ascertain or define what it is 
that constitutes an invention, or makes one an inventor, either 
in the eyes of the law or in fact. The law requires that in order 
that an individual shall be entitled to a patent, the thing discov- 
ered must be both new and useful. It is extremely difficult 
to determine what constitutes novelty, and also difficult to 
determine what is useful, before the invention has been sub- 
mitted to the test of time and experience ; as regards novelty, 
all that man can do is to form new combinations, and make 
new applications of substances and things that are old. It is 
a mistaken idea with many, that the invention of an improve- 
ment consists in the first vague idea of it. It takes far more 
than that to entitle one to the merit of an invention, for, between 
the bare conception of an idea, and the demonstration of the 
practicability and utility of the thing conceived, there is almost 


always a vast amount of labor to be performed, time and money 
to be spent, and innumerable difficulties and prejudices to be 
encountered, before the work is accomplished ; so that an in- 
dividual who performs all that is necessary in these ways to bring 
an improvement to the notice of the public, and causes them 
to appreciate and understand it, by dint of perseverance, is on 
the whole in some countries considered the author of the 
invention, even though the first idea did not originate with 
him. It is worthy of remark, that the greatest discoveries 
usually afford their authors less remuneration than is obtained 
by others for trivial inventions. The more important the inven- 
tion, and the more it interferes with previously existing modes 
of industry, the more are the public interested to dispute the 
claims, and infringe upon the rights of the inventor. 

It is often repeated that "necessity is the mother of invention." 
It may with equal truth be said, that inventors are the children 
of misfortune and want ; probably no class of the community, in 
any country, receive a smaller compensation for their labors 
than do inventors. A volume might be written in explanation 
of the peculiar difficulties and embarrassments to which they are 
subject, but the whole may be summed up in few words — as a 
general rule their labors begin, continue, and end in " necessity." 
Their hard fortune often calls forth the expression of pity and 
compassion from the public ; while at the same time, there are 
too many ever ready to encroach upon their inventions, without 
their knowledge or consent. However valuable and important 
an improvement may be, it seldom happens that the rightful 
owners are benefited by it. There is, however, in such cases, 
one alleviating and consoling reflection to well-disciplined minds, 
which is this; success has crowned their efforts to do that which 
they attempted, and they can leave the world better off for their 
having lived in it. As with other classes of men, the case of 
one inventor will apply, with some variations, to the whole ; he 
is impelled by a wish to gratify his inclinations, or driven by 
necessity to cast about him for some occupation to improve his 
condition, and fancies he has power of invention, and opportuni- 


ties whereby he may open for himself a new field of action ; and 
that, having accomplished his object, he will be guarantied by a 
patent, the exclusive enjoyment of his newly acquired property. 
In most cases, he knows but little of what he has to encounter, 
or the uncertainty of his reward. The thing he attempts may 
be foreign to his occupation, and he is obliged to resort to the 
mechanic or machinist, to obtain as he can, various parts of the 
thing he wishes to make ; he usually finds it the most difficult 
thing of all tasks, to persuade other mechanics to do that for 
him which is novel to them, or of which they do not perceive 
the utility, and which they will most likely not perceive, if it 
is a labor-saving machine, or an improvement in their line 
of business. Oftentimes the plan is ever so well conceived, and 
the inventor and those he has called to his aid, have done their 
best in the execution of their work ; it even then happens that 
the invention is a failure in the estimation of others, for the want 
of proper selection of materials, or from defect or oversight in 
its construction. Defeat only confirms him in his convictions 
that he is right, and he renews his attempts until success attends 
him, and he sees the machine which he has always seen to work 
in his " mind's eye," working to the admiration of himself and 
others. Hope revives, and for a time the satisfaction derived 
from the work is a full equivalent for the suffering he has endured. 
The individual has judged rightly as to his powers of invention, 
but he has little idea how much remains to be done to make the 
invention productive of profit ; he has probably exhausted his 
own resources, and the resources and patience of his friends in 
completing his improvements ; he has not the means to conduct 
the manufacture of his article, and without this he cannot so 
demonstrate the utility of his improvement, as to derive the ad- 
vantage from it he expected. He takes the precaution to pro- 
cure letters patent for his invention, which he counts as property, 
but which amounts chiefly to this, that the government grants 
him permission to fight his own battles. Next comes the Her- 
culean task of convincing the public of the advantages of the 
improvement, and the yet more difficult one of supplying the 


market with the improvement himself, and of preventing others 
from doing it by encroaching on his patent. If his object is to 
derive a profit by disposing of his patents for his inventions, it is 
well known that patents are so commonly evaded in some way, 
and that the patent law is so ineffectual for their protection, that 
the public will not value them highly, if at all ; nor can they be 
expected to do so, for in too many cases the purchase of a patent 
is only equivalent to the purchase of a law-suit. If it be a dis- 
covery of unlimited importance and universal application, a 
thing of necessity in the community, the danger of the inventors 
losing the invention is increased in proportion to its utility and 
importance. There will be found persons in every community, 
unprincipled, and irresponsible enough to pirate the invention, 
especially if they can make some slight alteration and evasion 
of it. The community, especially at a distance, cannot always be 
expected to understand the merits of the case, or if they do, since 
competition gives them the thing they want at less cost, are apt 
to encourage encroachments for that reason : The thing, say they, 
is so simple that any one could have thought of it, and no one 
is entitled to the monopoly of thought. It would be far better 
reasoning, and certainly more just, to say that the inventor 
should be rewarded on that very account ; because his improve- 
ment is simple, and therefore practicable ; because he has 
avoided the great error in most attempts at improvements, that 
of complication and mystery. 

Such is the inadequate security afforded to inventors for their 
rights, under the present patent laws, that unless the public are 
permitted, on reasonable terms, to participate in the advantages 
of an improvement, and above all, if it is one that brings about 
a great change in pre-existing manufactures, they will break into 
it, urging that no one has a right to supersede and thereby stop 
the progress of others, in their legitimate business, either by 
labor-saving machinery or other improvements. This reasoning 
is the more likely to be made use of, if the inventor is considered 
an innovator from another line of business. Every one is 
familiar with the feelings of operatives, when they are deprived 


of employment by improved machinery, and it must be con- 
fessed there are cases of this kind, attended with evils enough, 
ahnost, to raise a question in the rnind of the inventor himself, 
as to the benefit he confei's on mankind. 

The objectors are commonly not aware that changes of this 
sort are brought about so slowly, as to affect the immediate 
occupants of a branch of business much less than is usually sup- 

Poverty generally compels the inventor to part with a large 
interest in his invention, and then arises another great diffi- 
culty with regard to his patent, because the real property in an 
invention is not transferable ; for while the art, in relation to its 
manufacture, is yet new, its chief value lies in the skill, knowl- 
edge, or reputation of the inventor ; and unless the purchaser 
and inventor can subsequently harmonize, the patent is usually 
of but little value, either to the purchaser or to the inventor. 

Another difficulty, as between capitalists and inventors, with- 
out regard to the men, is attributable to the nature of the 
business. The capitalist is often as incapable of managing an 
improvement, as the inventor is ignorant of mercantile busi- 
ness or practical operations, and these circumstances often render 
it impossible for the two classes to think alike, or harmonize 

If the inventor has parted with a considerable interest in his 
invention, another serious difficulty immediately arises to prevent 
the parties realizing pecuniary profits from the patent. The 
public are apt to regard the purchaser of an interest in a patent, 
as a speculator, destitute of those equitable claims upon the public 
which they might concede to the inventor if alone ; overlooking 
the material fact that the inventor has sold, and the purchaser 
has bought, a share in the original, equitable, as well as merely 
legal, business claims of the inventor. The public conscience is 
thus hardened, and the community, in the case of patents, wit- 
nesses with coldness and indifference, infringements of vested 
rights, such as would, in other cases, rouse its warmest indigna- 
tion ; and thus the inventor is deprived of the protection afforded 


by those social barriers with which the sympathy and moral 
feeUng of the community surround other rights of property. 

The history of inventions as well as authors, with few ex- 
ceptions, proves that whoever attempts by inventions to im- 
prove the condition of others, usually impairs his own, except 
so far as he may add to his happiness, from the satisfaction 
of having done good to others. A biographical collection of the 
lives of distinguished inventors, would afford interesting, but sad 
materials for the pen of an author. Among the unsuccessful, 
no case is calculated more to excite our sympathies than that of 
John Fitch, although his experiments should in no way detract 
from the merit of Fulton, his successor. Yet in the recollection 
of his sad fate, who can but wish that he might have lived to share 
in Fulton's success. Among the records of successful inventors 
who have made their improvements under the greatest embar- 
rassments, and almost unparalleled discouragements, no one is 
more exciting than the well authenticated, though brief history 
of Paisley, the inventor of the methods of cementing porcelain. 
The case of Whitney, although not one of pecuniary privation, 
will afford a striking instance of inadequate compensation, com- 
pared with the magnitude of the results of his discovery, and the 
benefits conferred upon mankind. 




"History informs us that from time immemorial it has been 
the custom of monarchs possessed of absolute power, to grant 
monopolies of certain branches of trade. The abuse of this 
privilege, by reason of grants to favorites or unworthy persons, 
added to considerations arising from the intrinsic inconvenience 
and impolicy of such limitations of trade and industry, has ren- 
dered monopohes odious throughout the civilized world, and has 
led to the gradual diminution and final abolition of the custom 
wherever constitutions and equitable laws have prevailed. " 

"Patents for inventions are frequently, but erroneously, con- 
founded with monopolies. A monopoly is a grant of an exclu- 
sive right to buy, sell or trade, in some previously existing branch 
of human industry. It is unjust and odious, because it takes 
away from the public, rights which they had, before such exclu- 
sive grant or monopoly existed. A patent is a temporary exclu- 
sive right granted to an inventor, to manufacture, use and vend 
his inventions, provided that he will first deposit in a public office 
a full and faithful description of every thing claimed by him as 
his invention. It is not liable to the accusation of injustice, 
because it does not take avjay from the public any right ivhich 
the public possessed before, for it is evident that no such right 
could be claimed as part of an invention. Herein consists the 
essential difference between a monopoly and a patent; a monop- 
oly deprives the public of previously existing rights, a patent 
purchases for the public new rights which it did not possess 
before, for a patent is a contract of purchase between the public 
and an inventor ; the consideration given by the inventor is a 
full and faithful description of his, before secret, property or 
invention, with the public right to use it after a certain limited 
time ; the consideration given by the public is an exclusive 
right to the inventor to use his invention for a limited time as a 


compensation for giving a full and faithful description of his 
invention, so that it may be enjoyed freely, by the public, after 
the expiration of that limited time. 

" The letters patent are granted upon the condition that the 
thing patented shall be new and useful. This puts the burden 
of the proof of novelty upon the inventor, and the expense 
attendant upon the production of the necessary evidence in a 
court of law, commonly renders the patent of little value to the 

The imperfections and abuses, as well as the difficulties of 
administering the patent laws of most countries, so as to do jus- 
tice to inventors, without doing injustice to the public, is a sub- 
ject not sufficiently considered. The patent law is designed to 
reward the inventor or discoverer of an improvement by giving 
to him an exclusive temporary right to manufacture and sell all 
articles made according to the principles of his invention. The 
legislators who formed the laws, presumed that if the thing im- 
proved were a good one, it would always be patronized and paid 
for by the public, according to its merits ; and that, therefore, 
by granting a patent, the laws themselves would give to the 
inventor the most equitable compensation for his labors. But 
the reverse of what was intended commonly happens. 

The law guaranties to the inventor the exclusive right to 
manufacture, use and vend his improvements ; which is the very 
thing, perhaps, that he has neither the means, the capacity, 
nor the inclination to do ; and if he had all these in order to 
enjoy the apparent privilege, he is obliged to prove his title suc- 
cessively, in every judicial district, by a tedious course of law, 
against every infringer who chooses to challenge him by tres- 
passing upon his patents, and who frequently, if not generally, 
derives the very means necessary to sustain litigation fj-om the 
profits of infringejnent, thus, as it were, at the outset, unfairly 
disar?ning the inventor and fighting him with his own loeapons ! 
This is, to the inventor, a grievous hardship and wrong, and has 
no parallel in any other species of property. Possession of the 
field, and right to work in it, are given by law to the infringer, 


the adverse claimant, the prima facie trespasser ! Is not this a 
perversion of the natural order of justice ? Ought not the 
inventor, who has received a patent only after severe adverse 
examination of his claitns, by the patent office ; to be secured in 
his exclusive right until his patent shall have been legally set 
aside, and declared null and void ? 

The English patent laws grant a patent to the man who first 
introduces or publishes the invention in England, without regard 
to the claims of the real inventor. This obliges the inventor to 
proceed with a great deal of secrecy in all his experiments, to 
avoid the danger of losing the invention by piracy ; and often- 
times the law operates harshly, especially upon inventors in 
other countries, who desire to secure patents in England ; but it 
makes a patent more valuable when obtained, and it enables the 
court to malce decisions according to law, in which respect the 
English patent laws have unquestionably an advantage over 
those of the United, States ; for in general it is much easier to 
decide who first made a thing public, than v^ho first conceived 
it, and performed the work necessary to constitute an invention. 

For some years past a bill has been before Congress for the 
amendment of our patent laws, and it is to be hoped that ere 
long they will be so improved as to protect inventors more than 
they do at present, and give to their hardly earned rights a 
definiteness and security which are at present enjoyed by the 
more tangible forms of property. 

Here are presented to the reader some just and forcible remarks 
of the Commissioner of Patents, Edmund Burke, Esq., upon the 
patent laws of the United States, found in his reports to Congress 
for the year 184- 

" In my former reports I have recommended a change in some 
of the features of the patent law as it now exists. For the 
nature of those recommendations, and the reasons on which 
they are founded, I would respectfully refer to the annual reports 
of this office for 1845 and 1846. In my judgment, the changes 
proposed are necessary to give adequate security to that valua- 
ble and meritorious class of our citizens engaged in inventive 



pursuits. As the law now is, the remedies which it affords to 
patentees are, in most cases, inadequate to the protection of 
their rights, and the prevention of infringement upon them by 
that unscrupulous and unprincipled class of persons who make 
it a practice willfully to depredate upon patent-rights, and 
who, from the basely criminal character of the offence which 
they commit, are stigmatized by the appellation of the infa- 
mous epithet of pirate. Certainly, adequate protection should 
be given to the honest inventor who devotes his substance, and 
his incessant toil for the benefit of society, against the freeboot- 
ers who invade, without scruple, his property, which, to him, is 
more sacred and invaluable, because it is the cherished creation 
of his own genius. But while his exclusive property in his 
invention exists, it must be conceded that the inventor has a 
right to demand of the government the most ample security and 
protection in its enjoyment. This security and protection he 
does not, under our present imperfect system, enjoy. On the 
contrary, the difficulty and expense, and the absolute impossibil- 
ity, in some cases, of vindicating his rights, have rendered the 
present laws enacted for his protection, almost absolute nullities. 
To remedy this imperfection in the existing system, is the object 
of the amendments of the patent laws, proposed in the two 
former reports of the undersigned. 

" It seems unnecessary to remark upon the incalculable value 
of the labors of the inventor, and his claims upon society for 
protection in the enjoyment of his just rights. And sooner or 
later, the undersigned is confident they will be fully recognized 
and protected by the enlightened legislators of a great Republic, 
whose progress has been so much accelerated by their genius 
and enterprise." 

The writer of these pages has not the presumption to present 
any plan of legislative action as a remedy for the evils which are 
universally admitted to exist under the present patent laws. 
The matter demands and deserves the serious consideration of 
the most experienced and able legislators. Is this subject too 
difficult for the human intellect to master, or for society to settle 


upon an equitable basis ? Can not a system be devised, which 
shall, on the one hand, interfere to the least possible extent with 
liberty of public industry, and shall, on the other, secure to the 
inventor a fair reward out of the fruits of his labors ? 

If, as must be admitted by all, the difficulties are so many in 
the way of securing to inventors their legal rights, and if the 
expense and perplexity of defending patents is greater than the 
advantages conferred by them, and if the author of the inven- 
tions treated of in this work is aware of all this, the question 
may be asked, why has he availed himself of the patent laws to 
secure Ms inventions 1 A satisfactory reason, it is believed, has 
before been given, which is, that during the progress of his 
experiments he received pecuniary aid from others, stipulating 
with them that they might avail themselves of a portion of such 
advantages as might be derived by obtaining patents for these 
inventions. The protection which is afforded by letters patent to 
important inventions unquestionably is far better than none at all. 

When any important discovery is made and patented, em- 
bracing numerous inventions, and when the subsequent im- 
provements which render the discovery completely successful 
are patented by the same inventor, as in the case of vulcanized 
gum-elastic, such patents, if they do not guarantee a complete 
monopoly of any particular branch of business, give to the 
patentee the right of action against infringements, and it would 
be unsafe for the capitalist to engage in the same business while 
this right of action was in the hands of others. Besides there is 
at least a satisfaction in holding a just claim to a discovery 
under the present patent laws, uncertain as they are, in hopes 
that they may be made better, even if they are trespassed upon 
with impunity to a limited extent. 

Although the penalty of violating a patent is not so certain 
of infliction as to prevent unprincipled or irresponsible persons 
from pirating an invention, yet the liability to prosecution is 
such that men of capital and character will not be tempted by 
the profits of a business, to engage in it, to contend with others 
possessed of capital, who are the owners or licensees of a 


patented invention. There is therefore much in favor of those 
whose business is made in any good degree exclusive by a valid 
patent, and little hope of success in the same business for those 
who infringe upon or attempt to break the patent. If the object 
of the infringer is to break down a patent, he commonly finds it 
a fruitless undertaking, for if he succeeds in doing that, he does 
not thereby gain any exclusive advantage for himself, but he 
breaks the patent at his own expense, and throws it open for 
the benefit of the public at large. 

Such a policy is obviously short-sighted ; for, to say nothing 
of the injustice of the course as relates to the inventor, or those 
who honorably and fairly purchase of him, it is not the best 
course for the individual desiring to possess himself of the same 
advantages, or to participate in an improvement. It is far 
cheaper for any one engaging in a new business to pay to the 
patentee a fair consideration for a license, and to have fairly 
imparted the knowledge which the experience of the inventor 
has necessarily given him, rather than attempt to gain the same 
information by experiment and usurpation. 












Of heated or vulcanized gum-elastic. Its usefulness and variety. Novelty and peculiarity of con- 
struction, and the necessity of detailed descriptions. Extent of application. The words India 
rubber, gum-elastic, caoutchouc, synonymous throughout this work page 19 



Bound paper. Art of book-binding. Book-binding, or covering. Outline maps. Maps. Em- 
bossed maps. Illuminated maps. Framed maps. Charts. Globes. Outline globes. Sectional 
globes. Incompressible globes. Blank globes. Embossed globes. Illuminated globes. Self- 
inflating globes. Black and white-board. Slate and memorandum paper. Slate and pen-wiper. 
Inkstands. Improved inkstands. Inkstand packing. Artists' India rubber. Pencil-heads. 
Rules. Portfolios. Desk covering. Map carpets. Pens. Pencils and crayons p. 25 



Carpetings. Floor-cloths. Mosaic carpeting. Sponge carpet. Crumb-cloths. Tent carpets. 
Tents. Single tents. Teut fly. Awnings. Roofing p. 45 



Wall coverings. Table spreads. Piano-forte covers. Box covering. Trunk covering. Um- 
brella cloths. Bellows coverings. Instrument covers. Matress covers. Coffee, grain, and fruit 
covers. Hay rick covers. Storm hat covers. Jar covers. Phial mouth covers. Baggage 
covers. Desk coverings. Bed spreads. Bed covering and ticking p. 53 



Clothes brushes. Portable brushes. Scrubs. Hand scrubs. Covered bottles and phials. 
Covered demijohns. Wash-boards. Sieves. Screens. Tunnels. Bellows. Ice- water tanks. 
Wood carriers. Muff bags. Muff boxes. Door mats. Table mats. Coffee-pot and urn 


strainers. Pans and dishes. Tea and coffee sets. Improved preserve jars. Flower-pots and 
vases. Flower sacks. Ewer and wash bowls. Pitchers and tumblers. Water buckets. 
Portable water buckets. Fire buckets. Portable fire buckets. Wash tubs. Portable wash 
tubs. Baskets. Portable baskets. Dish baskets. Market and fish baskets. Coal hods. Table 
cutlery. Pocket cutlery. Furniture. Improved brushes. Elastic brushes. Paste bag. page 61 



Machine belting. Well ropes. Deckel straps. Elevators. Cane elevators. Printing tympans. 
Printers' rolls. Compressing apparatus. Preserving apparatus. Improved portable preserving 
apparatus. Steelyards and scales. Bakers' belting. Printing aprons. Match dies. Windmill 
sails. Thimbles. Sail-makers' thimbles. Stereotype plates. Stereotype moulds. Tool 
handles p. 79 


Sheathing. Caulking. Engine packing. Box packing. Door packing. Window packing, p. 89 



Self-acting valve tube. Pump valves. Chain pump valves. Faucet stops. Engine and bellows 
valves. Bag clasp. Bag vise .stop. Bag slide fastening. Corks. Phial and bottle corks. Ex- 
pansive cork. Soda fount corks. Jar corks. Demijohn corks. Inflating corks. Improved 
screw stopper. Improved valve stopper p. 95 



Car springs. Carriage and coach springs. Buffers. Cart and truck springs. Wagon seat and 
rail chair springs. Whale springs. Door springs. Improved door springs. Lock springs. 
Gun lock springs. Stirrup springs. Umbrella springs. Elastic bands. Elastic ties. Improved 
hose ties. Girth springs. Hinge springs, or spring hinges. Elastic tape. Glove springs. Shoe 
springs. Improved shoe springs. Vest springs. Corset and stay springs. Truss and belt 
springs. Hat and cap springs p. 107 



Engine hose. Hydraulic presses. Force pumps. Water wheels. Suction hose. Improved spiral 
hose. Connecting hose. Hydrant hose. Faucets. Reservoirs. Filters p. 119 



Musket covers. Wagon floats. Ambulanche. Powder bag.s. Provision bags. Pistol bolsters. 
Port-fire cases. Cannon covers. Sword sheaths. Cartridge boxes. Camp blankets. Cannon 


sponge covers. Sword and pistol covers. Military belts. Canteens. Water tanks. Military 
caps. Blasting cartridges. Budge barrels. Tents and tent carpets. Bandages. Military stocks. 
Haversacks. Knapsacks. Miners' knapsacks. Gun and pistol stocks. Air pontoons Eind 
pontoon boats. Air pontoons. Pontoon air boats. Air balsor. Air pontoon rafts... page 129 



Ships' sails. Report of Captain Popham. Second report of Captain Popham. Ship lights. Tar- 
paulins Ships' water tanks. Hammocks. Tompion. Signal balls. Camels, or vessels' 
lighters. Submarine armor. Ships' letter bags. Bread bags. Sailors' bags. Budge barrel. 
Fenders. Navy belts. Sheaths. South-westers. Tarpaulin hats. Deck scrubs. Gun recoil 
springs. Shot plug. Life buoy. Harbor buoy. Anchor buoy. Whale buoy. Anglers' floats. 
Decoys. Seine floats. Sheathing and caulking materials. Bathing tubs. Ships' buckets. 
Ships' ware and utensils. Seamens' wearing apparel. Improved hatch. Boats. Whale-boats, 
yawls, jolly-boats, and row-boats. Long-boats. Club-boats and race-boats. Life boats. Ballast 
tanks p. 141 



Bandages. Hospital air beds. Hospital water bed. Improved water beds. Hospital sheets. 
Dissecting gloves. Dissecting aprons. Finger ends, or cots. Crutches. Russian belts. 
Abdominal supporters. Trusses. Ear trumpets. Varicose stockings. Nipple shields. Breast 
pump. Nursing bottles. Poulticing socks. Urine bags. Gonorrhea bags. Bed pans. Pes- 
sary. Syringes. Bellows syringes. Self-acting syringes. Invalids' cushion. Ventilated 
water-beds. Stethescopes. Hot-water bottles p. 165 



Thermometer frames and scales. Telescopes. Gas bags. Gasometers. Hydrostatic bellows. 
Opera glass cases. Quadrants. Barometers and chronometers. Water levels. Squares and 
bevels, curves, triangles, and parallel rules. Reel measures. Leveling rods. Dry measures. 
Wine measures. Scales and rules. Instrument cases. Instrument handles p. 175 



Fife. Flute. Clarionet. Clarionet reeds. Piano-fortes. Instrument key stops. Organs. Ac- 
cordions. Bag-pipes. Music boxes. Bass viols and violins. Drums p. 181 



Gymnastic ropes. Jump ropes. Inflated bat-club. Chest expanders. Baby jumpers. Swings. 
Invalids' jumper p. 1S5 





Dolls. Magnetic toys. Quadrupeds and birds. Air hoops. Rattle-boxes. Cross-bows. Toy 
guns. Teething rings. Battle-door. Picture books. Kites. Whistles. Needle cases. Watch 
guards. Shawl pins. Hair clasps. Bat and parlor balls. Hair loop. Churches and cottages. 
Vehicles. Boats. Hard compound toys page 191 



Footballs. Parlor balls. Bat and wicket balls. Boxing gloves. Boxing jackets. Ten-pins. 
Billiard cushions. Billiard balls. Improved skates. Skate trimmings. Skating caps. Skating 
jackets. Backgammon boards p. 199 



Gun cases. Game bags. Fishing rods. Fish bags. Fish baskets. Self-filling bottles. Sports- 
men's flasks. Sportsmen's canteens and fishermen's bottles. Sportsmen's portable cups. 
Shot-bags. Powder flasks. Pouches. Sportsmen's pantaloons. Sportsmen's boots. Sports- 
men's boats p. 207 



Saddles. Saddle covers. Martingal. Girths. Surcingles. Stall carpets. Riding bridles. Halters. 
Fly-nets. Fetters. Foot caulking. Horse-blankets. Improved horse-blankets. Improved 
stirrup. Whips. Butfalo and imitation buffalo robes. Feed bags. Hoof shoes. Knee-fenders. 
Fetlock fenders p. 215 



Horse collars. Harness saddles. Harness bridles. Covered buckles. Baggage straps. Elastic 
straps. Collar pads. Traces. Reins p. 227 



Coach curtains. Improved coach curtains. Hammer-cloths. Coach lace. Coach boots. Wagon 
and chaise boots. Baggcige boots. Baggage covers. Box cushions. Coach and chaise cushions. 
Improved box, coach, and chair cushions. Improved cushion covers. Carriage dashers. 
Coach whips, riding whips, and switches. Coach mountings. Coach trumpets. Improved 
coach and car sashes. Improved blinds. Improved carriage dashers. Coach pannels.. p. 235 




Daguerreotype frames and boxes. Fancy boxes. Looking-glass and picture frames. Improved 
picture frames. Portable picture frames. Ornamental mouldings. Fancy baskets. Gimps. 
Coach lace. Banners and flags. Fringes and tassels. Pocket-books and wallets. Walking 
sticks, or canes. Meerschaums. Medalious. Cameos. Umbrella and cane heads. Plated 
ornaments page 247 



Air-work. Self-inflating air-work. Cushions. Boat cushions. Ventilated boat cushions. Self- 
Inflating cushions. Ventilated cushions. Invalids' cushions. Coach, chaise, and box cushions. 
Pillows. Self-inflating pillows. Ventilated pillows. Beds. Cape and poncho beds. Ventilated 
beds. Self-inflating beds. Hospital air-beds. Observations on life-preservers. Life-preservers. 
Pocket life-preservers. Cushion life-preservers. Pillow life-preservers. Satchel life-preservers. 
Jacket life-preservers. Nautilus life-preservers. Self-inflating nautilus. Life-preserving wear- 
ing apparel. Life-preserving bathing dresses. Balloons. Gas bags. Directions for mending 
air-work p. 257 



Umbrellas. Parasols. Bank notes. Portable picture frames. Transparencies. Money belts. 
Tape measures. Wheel-barrow tire. Wheel-barrow shoulder-straps. Covered iron furniture. 
Umbrella frames. Bedstead castors and shoes. Chair .shoes. Cartmen's wallets. Ox-buttons. 
Nose baskets. Grafting bandages p. 275 



Buttons. Suspenders, or braces. Improved suspender. Suspender ends. Ladies' elastics. 
Improved ladies' elastics. Stays, corsets, and braces. Pantaloon straps. Hat pockets. Hat 
covers. Hat and cap springs. Foot holders. Shoe springs. Improved shoe springs. Vest 
springs. Glove springs p. 293 



Wearing apparel. Observations on water-proof wearing apparel. Coats and capes. Ponchos. 
Cape and hood. Leggins. Sleeves. Overalls. Cartmen's frocks. Storm collar and cape. 
Firemen's capes. Fording dresses. Full fording dresses. Baptizing dresses. Caps. Storm 
caps. Firemen's caps. Neck stocks. Aprons. Nurses aprons. Washer-women's aprons. 
Brick-maker's aprons. Mechanics' aprons. Children's aprons. Dissecting aprons. Impervious 
gloves and mittens. Bathing and flesh gloves and mittens. Dissecting gloves. Boxing gloves. 
Pervious gloves and mittens. Shoes. Pervious overshoes. Congress shoes and gaiters. 
Buffalo shoes. Ladies' boots and gaiters. Men's boots and gaiters. Sporting boots. Jack 
boots. Moccassins. Invalids' shoes. Hotel and house slippers. Insoles. Shoe soles. Life- 
preserving apparel. Firemen's caps p. 305 





Bath tubs. Portable bath tubs. Child's bath tub. Foot baths. Portable foot baths. Bathing 
mats. Bathing and flesh gloves. Bathing and flesh mittens. Bathing pantaloons. Shower 
baths. Hand shower baths. Sponge bags. Bath tub straps. Bathing caps page 339 



Umbrellas and parasols. Trunks. Paper trunks. Hat boxes. Muff boxes. Valises. Band- 
boxes. Travelling bags. Improved travelling bags. Incompressible bags. Portmanteaus. 
Saddle-bags. Mail-bags. Horse mail-bags. Bottles. Hot-water bottles. Improved hot-water 
bottles. Shaving boxes. Dressing boxes. Portable desks. Pocket instands. Expansion 
trunks and valises p. 347 



Life-preserver trunks. Improved life-preserver trunks. Water and air-proof valises. Water 
and air-proof hat and bonnet boxes. Travelling bags. Life-preserving travelling bags. Double 
life-preserving travelling bags. Life-preserving expansion trunks and valises p. 359 



Fire escape rope. Packcige envelopes. Fruit package envelope. Improved fruit package 
envelope. Portable boats and pontoons. Portable boat. Portable folding boats. Portable 
Life-boats. Self inflating portable life-boats. Tubular portable life-boat. Folding frame boat. 
Box-boat. Batteaux and canoes. Matress boat. Self inflating pontoons. Self-inflating pontoon 
raft. Self-inflating wagon floats. Self-inflating balsors and life spars. Lifebuoys p. 369 


Of heated or vulcanized gum-elastic. Its usefulness and variety. Novelty and peculiarity of 
construction, and the necessity of detailed descriptions. Extent of application. The vyords 
India rubber, gum-elastic, caoutchouc, synonymous throughout this work. 

In describing the applications of caoutchouc, the writer has 
endeavored to confine himself to the description of such fabrics 
and applications only as are deemed to be of practical utility, 
though in some few instances articles are described which have 
not been tested by use at the time of writing. 

Reasoning from the utility of other things like them in kind, 
it may be fairly presumed that they are alike useful. Where 
there is a doubt of the success or usefulness of any application, 
the fact is stated in connection with the description of the 

Had not the writer confined himself to rules of this sort, or 
had he indulged in describing uses and things deemed of possible 
or probable utility, or even described all the varieties of the same 
class of articles, or enlarged upon all the ascertained uses of 
successful applications, it would have swelled the volume to an 
inconvenient size. To those who are unacquainted with the 
subject, or who have not seen the specunens, there are 
some applications mentioned, such as clothes-brushes, coal- 
scuttles, kitchen utensils, &c., which may at first appear 
ridiculous. Notwithstanding this, it may very likely be found 
that these are the very articles to which some of the fabrics 
are best adapted. In the description of the various arti- 
cles, it is stated that each article is made of one or more of 


the different fabrics, or of a variety of them. The writer does 
not mean to say, that in all cases the articles will hereafter be 
made of the same fabrics, and by the same methods which are 
at present adopted ; but that thus far such fabrics are found 
best for such uses, and that the specimens are now made of 
such fabrics and upon the plan described, which in most cases, 
it is believed, will be found at any future time to be the best 
method of manufacture. 

In nearly all cases where drawings are given, there is some 
novelty in the article, or some peculiarity in the construction, 
on account of which they are thought necessary to the descrip- 
tion, in order that all may understand them. Among the appli- 
cations there are included quite a number of inventions made 
by other individuals, for the successful operation of which, these 
fabrics have been found necessary. He has given the names 
of inventors in all cases where he has been able to ascertain 
them, and has placed his initials to those inventions only, which 
he believes to be exclusively his, omitting to do this in cases 
where the original ideas were suggested by others, notwithstand- 
ing that they were wholly demonstrated by himself If the 
applications appear too numerous to have been made by one 
individual at one time, it will be remembered that the labors of 
fourteen years are herein summed up. This work is not made 
of speculative theories and specifications of things supposed 
possible to be done, but it consists principally of facts fully 
demonstrated by actual experience. 

Although it will be impossible that the various markets can 
be supplied with many of the articles for a long time to come, 
yet any or all of them can be obtained by specially ordering 
them from the respective licensees of the inventor, according to 
the branches which they have severally undertaken to prose- 
cute. It may be thought, by some, that there is an indiscrimi- 
nate recommendation of the different fabrics, for different 
uses, but such is not the fact. It is believed that in most, 
if not in all cases, there is a good reason for the selection and 
recommendations made of particular fabrics for particular 


uses, though the reasons are not always given for the selection 
that is made. 

During the course of experiments which occupied five years, 
previous to the discovery of the vulcanizing process, and tv^^o 
years subsequently to it, new uses and applications of gum-elas- 
tic were almost constantly discovered, and the substance with 
which the writer experimented, was indiscriminately applied to 
different articles, as convenience and fancy prompted, for the 
purpose of testing the quality of the gum, and the success of the 
experiments. In this way a more thorough knowledge was ac- 
quired of the nature and susceptibility of the substance, so that 
when his efforts were crowned with success, and there remained 
no doubt that a valuable improvement had been made, and there 
was no longer any danger of failure from the decomposition of 
the gum, the inventor was well prepared to go forwai^d and ex- 
tend the applications of the improvement indefinitely, until the 
question came not to be, How far can they be extended ? but. 
Where is the limit ? 

A large proportion of the fabrics, and a great number of the 
applications and newly invented articles have never, until now, 
been presented to the public. It is to be expected that a portion 
of the community will consider some of these things simply as 
novelties, too uncertain to be represented as articles of utility ; 
but it may be remarked, they are not novelties to the author. 
Many of them have been experimented upon and tested by 
him for years, in various ways, although it is true the greatest 
share of them have been but recently perfected. Among the 
most recently invented fabrics are the fibrous and plated fabrics, 
the napped, porous, corded, perforated, and indelible fabrics, 
cord-ware, hollow-ware, and sponge goods, improved air-work, 
the quilted and ventilated fabrics, and the various hard com- 
pounds — caoutchouc enamel, whalebone, buck-horn, and ivory. 
These, together with the recently perfected and most important 
applications — ships' sails, globes, carpeting, umbrellas, and life- 
preserving trunks, and bags, have been withheld for the purpose 
of being perfected, and also to be made public subsequent to the 
completion of this work. 


With regard to the inventions and applications of his own. 
which are marked with the initials of the inventor, he deems the 
greater part of them of little importance in comparison with 
the original discovery, through which, alone, all the subsequent 
applications and inventions are rendered useful, or in comparison 
with the fibrous and plated fabrics which he considers exceed- 
ingly important in a mechanical point of view, as many of the 
fabrics, and a great number of the articles which are designed 
as substitutes for leather articles, could not be made to advan- 
tage in any other way, on account of the gum peeling off the 
cloths and canvas on which it had been spread. It is for this 
reason that the woven cloths, coated with gum, are not recom- 
mended for a greater number of uses. The reason why they 
are recommended in some cases is, that in the present state of 
the manufacture, they may be more conveniently made or ob- 
tained than the improved fabrics. 

Since the properties of the heated or vulcanized gum-elastic 
and the qualities of the fabrics are becoming better known and 
appreciated, there is a growing interest in the subject which 
has drawn the attention of many inventive minds to the appli- 
cation of the substance and the various fabrics, to numerous 
arts and manufactures, which come within the sphere of their 
operations. Among the useful inventions made by others are 
Ship Lights, by Mr. Hidden ;* Spring Shoe Clogs and Hydrant 
Faucets, by Dr. C. Stearns ; f and Car Springs, by Mr. F. M. 
Ray. J Many others have since been made. These are 
alluded to as being among the earliest established manufactures. 
From the complete success of these various inventions the 
future success of others may be anticipated. 

To enumerate all the articles which it is believed may be ad- 
vantageously made of this substance, would swell the catalogue 
itself to a volume. It would include a great proportion of the 
articles in common use. The writer has selected and described 
from some of the classes of articles those only which were most 
prominent. For instance, among the articles or utensils which 

* New York. t New York. i Springfield, Mass. 



have heretofore been commonly made of metal, tin, earthen, or 
pasteboard, almost the whole range of those wares might have 
been given with equal propriety, at least for specific uses. It is 
not, however, asserted that these articles, when made of gum- 
elastic, are to be preferred to the same articles made of other 
materials, except in particular cases. Neither is it supposed that 
they will become generally substituted for articles made of glass, 
earthen, or metal, or lessen the consumption of articles of that 
kind ; but it is maintained, and the articles that are made prove, 
that for special uses and occasions, they have a peculiar merit. 

Notwithstanding the novelty or apparent absurdity of apply- 
ing gum-elastic to such uses, objections are usually removed 
when the articles or specimens of them are examined. 

Although a large number of articles are classed under the 
different heads to which they are commonly considered to be- 
long, a great many articles may yet be added to most of these 
classes, and particularly to the following : House, Ship, and 
Camp Utensils ; Miscellaneous Articles ; Toys and Trifles ; and 
Springs. For this reason the chapters are left open. 

As a general rule, where few articles of a class are noticed, 
those are described which were thought most defective in some 
particulars, as they have heretofore been made of other materials, 
or of such things as might be most improved by some peculiar 
property of the new fabric or compound recommended for them. 

For instance, ewers are noticed among the chamber ware, 
because when made of crockery they are so liable to be broken, 
and to be cracked when water is left to freeze in them. Coal- 
hods among kitchen ware, because sheet iron hods are noisy, 
and soon rust out. Dolls, quadrupeds, and birds among toys, 
because they are so easily made to imitate the different noises 
natural to each. Others again are noticed for the reason that 
they can be made more portable of gum-elastic than of other 
materials. A variety of uses of this substance are perhaps as 
deserving of notice as those which have been mentioned, and 
many uses of it will undoubtedly be suggested by different in- 
dividuals in connection with the different occupations and pro- 


fessions in which they are engaged. They, will also unques- 
tionably discover advantages relating to some things which are 
described, which the writer has omitted to notice. In all cases, 
however, where he has knowledge of objections to their use, he 
has not hesitated to point them out. 

The impervious articles among wearing apparel, have been 
particularly noticed for the purpose of pointing out the objec- 
tions, as well as the valuable properties, of gum-elastic for such 
uses ; while the wearing apparel which is pervious to air, and 
yet impervious to water, may be much more deserving of notice 
in many cases ; though little will be said in reference to them, 
until it can be better ascertained how far this double property 
of these fabrics can be applied, and made available in the use of 
caoutchouc. It may, however, be remarked, that the uses, as 
well as the value of India rubber, will be vastly increased by the 
introduction of the recently invented fabrics already alluded to, 
and particularly the wool-napped, plated, and corded fabrics and 
hard compounds, and also the porous fabrics, as in them the 
objections which have heretofore been considered insurmount- 
able, viz., confinement of perspiration and the exclusion of air, 
are overcome. 

In attributing to other individuals some of the inventions 
hereafter described, the writer does not vouch for the facts, but 
gives them according to the best of his knowledge. 

The words caoutchouc, India rubber, and gum-elastic, are 
used as synonymous throughout the work. 



Bound paper. Art of book-binding. Book-binding, or covering. Outline maps. Maps. Em- 
bossed maps. Illuminated maps. Framed maps. Charts. Globes. Outline globes. Sectional 
globes. Incompressible globes. Blank globes. Embossed globes. Illuminated globes. Self- 
inflating globes. Black and white-board. Slate and memorandum paper. Slate and pen-wiper. 
Inkstands. Improved inkstands. Inkstand packing. Artists' India rubber. Pencil-heads. 
Rules. Portfolios. Desk covering. Map carpets. Pens. Pencils and crayons. 

The importance of the improvements in gum-elastic for 
educational purposes, have been briefly commented upon in the 
first volume of this work, and they will also be briefly alluded to 
in the description of the articles in this chapter. More might be 
written upon the subject in regard to most of them, and too 
much could not well be said in commendation of others. Much 
remains to be done to perfect them, but enough has already 
been done to prove that the cause of education will hereafter 
be promoted by the use of many articles made of the vulcanized 
fabrics. The cheapness of some of the articles, compared with 
those made of other materials, gives double assurance of the cor- 
rectness of this view. The expensiveness of globes, which are 
admitted by all to be by far the best means of imparting and ob- 
taining geographical and astronomical information, has rendered 
them accessible to few persons, either pupils or teachers. The 
adaptation and application of gum-elastic to these purposes, will 
bring within the reach of every pupil in every common school, a 
perfect globe, at a price within their means ; or maps more durable 
than leather or parchment, at cheaper rates than paper maps are 



now made when mounted upon muslin. Some of the articles 
described in this chapter more properly belong to the department 
of stationery, and others are only articles of accommodation or 
convenience for schools ; but for the sake of conciseness, and to 
give a comprehensive view of the whole, they are all treated 
under the head Educational. 

By allusion to two improvements of modern times, one in 
stationery, the letter envelope ; another, the method of teaching 
with outline maps, the public may better appreciate the value 
and timely introduction of the two improvements described in 
this Chapter, caoutchouc bound paper and illustrated outline 
maps, and map carpets. 

The advantages of the method of teaching geography by the 
use of outline maps was apparent, and the system was partially 
introduced by the use of paper maps, previous to the application 
of caoutchouc to this use; but their cumbrous bulk and liability 
to damage, beside their expensiveness when mounted on muslin, 
presented an obstacle to the progress of the improvement in this 
method of teaching geography, so that a suitable material upon 
which to print these maps, became a desideratum. The timely 
application of gum-elastic tissue and vellum to this use, meets 
the necessity of the case. 

The binding of paper, as hereafter described, is another im- 
provement, the demand for which is the more imperative, in con- 
sequence of the introduction of the letter envelope, which has 
recently come into general use, and which has become almost 
indispensable for the comfort and convenience of every one 
who has any considerable correspondence. This change in 
the use of paper for letter writing, demands a corresponding 
change in the method of putting it up for the market ; and it is 
believed that the requisition is met in the article of bound 

* As early in 1836, a medal was awarded to the writer by the Mechanics' Institute of New York, 
for the application of India rubber to the art of printing. The effort to make the invention prac- 
tical and useful, has been continued until the present time. The views that were then entertained 
of the importance of the art may now be appreciated. 



The method of binding paper, which is referred to in the head- 
ing of this chapter, is an improvement which combines economy 
with neatness and convenience. A coat of gum-elastic cement 
is apphed to the edges of the paper on the back of the ream, 
and over it a sheet of thin gum-elastic vellum for the purpose 
of a binding. Quire marks are also bound in between the 
quires or half-quires ; these are either bits of tissue paper or a 
sheet of paper of another color. It is made yet more conveni- 
ent at a trifling extra expense, when sheets of blotting-paper are 
bound between the quires. By this method of putting up paper, 
the separate quires in the reams are always kept in their place ; 
each sheet is kept in its place in the quire until wanted, 
and every inch of paper left in using parts of sheets, is kept 
bound until taken out ; and while the quire is being used, there 
is but one half sheet outside or underneath to get soiled. A 
much more important item in the account of its convenience 
and utility is, that when a sermon, deed, contract, or other 
article is written upon the quire, which requires a greater or less 
number of sheets, the pages may be written consecutively until 
the deed, or other document, is finished ; and when cut from the 
ream, the document becomes a bound book of the strongest kind, 
so far as holding the sheets securely is concerned. The delay 
and inconvenience of stitching or fastening a document with 
eyelets is not encountered, which, by the common method, has 
to be done, if at all, at the last moment of executing a document, 
when it is most inconvenient, and persons are in the greatest haste. 
The document bound in this way will He open where it is desired 
when laid down, and does not give one trouble by its constant 
shutting ; beside, there is a saving of from one to two inches of 
paper, because it may be written upon quite to the top of the 
sheet, there being no margin required, as in the case of fastening 
by stitching or eyelets. The convenience in the use of this paper 



may be aptly compared to that of the letter envelope ; only the 
improvement may be said to be as much more important as the 
consumption of writing paper is greater than that of paper for 

It is reasonable to suppose that in the first manufacture of 
cap and letter paper, it was folded chiefly for the following 
reasons : first, that it might be used in the form of a book when 
the sheets were stitched together at the back ; second, that it 
might be conveniently retailed by the quire ; and, also, in letter 
writing, that the half sheet written upon might be folded in the 
other half as a wrapper. The bound paper will be found pre- 
ferable, in all these particulars, to any before offered to the public. 
In a brief correspondence, when folded paper is used, there 
exists the necessity of remitting a half sheet that is not required, 
or of sending the correspondent a torn half sheet, either of which 
is objectionable : both these objections are avoided in the use of 
the bound paper, the sheets being put in the market without 
folding, of any size required. It is probably not very far from 
the truth to suppose that as much writing paper is wasted as is 
necessarily used. The use of a few quires of bound paper will 
satisfy any person that, in addition to the satisfaction it other- 
wise gives, a large share of this waste may be avoided. 


Some method by which books could be more securely and ex- 
peditiously bound, has long been desired, both by publishers and 
the public. By the use of the vulcanizing process, this object is 
now attained, and specimens are produced, both with the ordi- 
nary bindings, and the vellum and tissue bindings hereafter 
described, together with the book covers, which it is beheved 
will satisfactorily demonstrate the value of these improvements. 

The writer does not pretend that the idea of binding books by 
means of India rubber originated with himself. It was first 


attempted many years ago in England, and it was also attempted 
in the United States as early as 1836, but it is well known that 
India rubber, not vulcanized, is too perishable a substance for 
any such application. The result has been that such attempts, 
after producing considerable excitement, and raising the expecta- 
tions of the public, have proved failures. In this instance a 
very diiferent result is anticipated. 

One of the inconveniences attending books bound in the com- 
mon way, is the difficulty of holding them open so as to be read 
at the inner margin ; and the same remark applies to blank books, 
with still greater force, in regard to the difficulty of writing up to 
the back, until the backs are sufficiently broken or worn to admit 
of it, by which time the leaves are usually so loosened as to fall 
out. By this new method of binding, this difficulty is completely 
overcome, so as to admit of the book being opened quite flat and 
level. The writer believes that it is not saying too much, to 
affirm that books bound in this way will possess a great advan- 
tage over books bound in the usual way, on the score of durability. 
This improvement is applicable alike to printed and blank books, 
and although the expense of binding each is less than by the com- 
mon method of binding with glue and stitches, yet the saving of 
expense will be greater, and the advantage more apparent in blank 
books than any others, except it be music books. In addition 
to the foregoing, an improvement has been made by the writer 
in the manufacture of covers for expensive books and ledgers 
from caoutchouc whalebone, with elastic compound for the 
backs, which it is believed will be found more durable than any 
heretofore made of other materials. 


A fabric is made of vulcanized gum-elastic tissue and vellum, 
for cheap publications, and of gum-elastic corded vellum, of 
different thicknesses, made in imitation of Russia leather, calf 
skin, and morocco, for more valuable works. The superiority of 


this material as a binding or covering for books, consists in this, 
that it does not crack or warp, is not injured by worms, water, 
or oil, is not easily soiled, and is readily cleansed when soiled. 
Beside, it admits of every style of ornament in the highest per- 

When finished in the style of the indelible fabrics, described 
on page , or gilded, it admits of all the elegance of execution, 
and possesses all the durability, that can be desired in a book 

Admitting that these fabrics possess the advantages for book- 
binding that are claimed for them, another and a great recom- 
mendation will be their cheapness and economy ; as those 
which are designed as substitutes for morocco, calf, and Russia 
leather, may be afforded at nearly the same price as cambrics 
and paper, and at about the price of the cambrics now used for 


These are printed upon the vulcanized India rubber fabrics, 
both transparent and opaque, and also upon various articles 
to be used for other purposes besides maps, such as piano-covers, 
crumb-cloths, and carpets. Arrangements are being made foi 
this manufacture, which may facilitate the method of teaching 
from outline maps, by printing on this material maps of the 
world, upon a scale large enough for papering the sides of an 
ordinary sized room of a school-house, academy, or public lecture- 
room or dwelling. The same map, when suspended at a suitable 
distance from the wall, with lights placed behind it, may be 
used as a transparency for teaching at night. A series of sec- 
tional maps, printed on a scale as large as can be conveniently 
printed upon callenders, after the manner of calico printing, are 
cemented together and arranged upon rollers, as represented in 
plate ii., so that they may be passed from one roll to the other. 
With the map of the world before the pupils or audience, the 


MAPS. 31 

geographical position of each state or country may be readily ex- 
plained, and it is obvious that by the use of such a series of 
maps as a transparency, together with the map of the world, 
and the illuminated globe, the study of geography may be 
taught with a great saving of time and expense, and may also 
be taught to those whose sight does not admit of close study at 
night, as well as those who have no leisure hours to devote to 
study except at night. The perfection of this system, however, 
will not be attained until skillful artists shall have turned their 
attention to the subject, for the purpose of illustrating the maps 
by the best designs, and most truthful representations of the 
scenery, productions, and costume of the inhabitants of the 
different countries, and blending these with the geographical 

The panoramic representations, so popular of late, are proof 
of the interest that may be given to a panorama of the world 
prepared in this way, for the teaching of geography and astron- 
omy, now too much neglected for the want of such facilities. 

When the plates or callenders are once executed, the printing 
of these maps will be no more expensive than the ordinary 
printing of calicos, so that sets of these maps will be brought 
within the reach of any individual or institution, that can afford 
the expense of atlases or maps of any kind. Outline maps for 
the use of schools, printed upon this material without illustration, 
are already offered for sale by the licensees of the inventor; and 
also crumb-cloths, table-spreads, and piano-covers, with maps 
printed on them ; it having been proved that these impressions, 
with the coloring, are sufficiently durable for these purposes, not 
excepting carpeting, which is exposed to hard service. 


These are printed upon vulcanized India rubber, vellum, dra- 
pery, and tissue ; drapery being used for pocket maps, and vellum 
for those that are mounted. The advantages over paper which are 


claimed for maps of this sort, are very many. They possess an 
intrinsic value for many other purposes besides those of instruc- 
tion. They may be used with impunity as table or bed spreads, 
or, in fact, as common crumb-cloths ; they may be doubled and 
folded any number of times, and handled without care ; may not 
only be washed, but also boiled in hot water or soap suds, with- 
out injury to the goods or to the pi'inting. They are useful for 
schools, as they can be brought to the desk of the pupil, instead 
of his being compelled to climb to use them. In order to demon- 
strate the utility of the fabrics for this use, the plates of this work 
are printed on the fabrics, and the maps are executed both in 
lithograph and copper-plate printing. It is deserving of special 
notice, that the water-colors, as well as the print of these maps, 
are indelible. 


Gum-elastic maps may be so embossed in the manner in which 
hollow ware is made by engraved moulds, as to show the eleva- 
tions and depressions of the earth's surface. The article may 
be made as elegant as the foreign article of this sort, made of 
pasteboard, and durable as caoutchouc. Beside the general 
geographical correctness and utility of embossed maps, the 
subject is one of philanthropic interest, concerning the well- 
being and happiness of the blind. 


Gum-elastic maps, when made of transparent tissue and illu- 
minated, may be profitably used for instruction at night ; and 
likewise large outline maps for illustration of lectures, &c. For 
further explanation relating to this class of articles, see trans- 
parencies, illuminated globes, &c., page 



The various kinds of gum-elastic maps may be framed with 
the same material, and inflated with the self-acting valve tube, 
as represented in plate , fig. . When gilded or bronzed, 
these aerial frames resemble very closely the wooden gilded 
article ; and when collapsed, they occupy very little space. 
Maps framed in this way may also be used as bathing mats and. 
carpets for children, without injury to the engraving or coloring, 
while the increased expense of the map on account of the frame 
is very trifling. 


Are made of vegetable leather, or what might for this use be 
properly termed gum-elastic parchment. The same general re- 
marks that have been made in regard to maps, will apply to 
charts. They also possess another superior quality, which is 
particularly requisite for charts. The dimensions of this parch- 
ment do not vary like paper when damped for printing ; in 
like manner the dimensions of these charts do not vary from 
change of atmosphere. They may be exposed to wet, and to 
salt water for any length of time with impunity. The vessel's 
course can also be marked on them with pencil or ink, and 
afterwards washed off", if desired. 


The globe has heretofore been so expensive as to be found in 
schools only of the higher class. No form of map or atlas can 


give so correct an idea of the surface of the earth, or of the rela- 
tive situation of places, as a globe. One of three feet in diam- 
eter may be made a complete atlas. 

An attempt to make them of gum-elastic was made by the 
writer soon after the discovery of the acid gas process. Speci- 
mens were at that time made of the pure sheet gum, cured by 
the acid process. 

These attempts have been followed up at intervals, until the 
present time. They have been made of the knit goods, coated 
florence, and the plated fibrous fabrics. On many accounts, the 
last-named fabric and sheet gum may in general be best for this 
use. They are made of various sizes, and when embossed by 
the method described in the manufacture of hollow-ware, they 
may be made to supply the present deficiency of globes for the 

The utility and importance of these globes to the cause of 
education must be fully apparent, when it is understood that 
any child can be furnished with a perfect globe at a price to 
come within his means. When used, these globes are inflated 
with air, and when collapsed, may be folded in so small a com- 
pass as to be no incumbrance under any circumstances. When 
the large sizes are filled with hydrogen, they become a highly 
ornamental and beautiful object. 

A convenient method of arranging those that are filled with 
air for use, may be seen from the plate, fig. 1 ; suspended from 
the ceiling, by a cord running to it from the side of the room, 
fig. 2, or by its axis, like other globes. Another convenient 
method is to place the inflated globes upon a light hoop stand, 
or a suspended hoop, figs. 3 and 4. 


After what has been said on the subject of outline maps, com- 
ments upon this article are unnecessary, except to say that the 
same general remarks will apply to globes as to maps. 



Sectional globes, as represented in the diagrams, Plate , 
figs. are made from caoutchouc boards or whalebone, which 

is coated with India rubber tissue. or elastic compound. The 
sections are fitted into the edges of the polar circles or discs, 
which are formed with grooves to secure them in their several 
places. When the sections are matched together, before they 
are fitted to both the polar discs, they are fastened together at 
the equator by a caoutchouc whalebone hoop, wdiich is sHpped 
into catches upon the sections on the inside, and also by an axis 
passing through the globe and fastened at the poles. This method 
of manufacturing globes from gum-elastic is the invention of 
another.* They may be easily taken apart, and combine the 
firmness of the ordinary pasteboard or plaster globes with the 
compactness and portability of the flexible ones which are made 
of India rubber. 


The only question which has been raised as to the utility of 
caoutchouc compressible or inflated globes is, whether they can 
be made firm and exact enough to be mounted for working 
problems with as much precision as the common plaster globe. 

If this be granted, the objection may be removed by making 
the shells and horizon of caoutchouc whalebone covered with 
printed India rubber tissue, instead of paper, and the frame of 
caoutchouc-ivory. Globes made in this manner will be lighter, 
stronger, and as exact for the working of problems as the 
plaster globe. 

* Charles Goodyear, Jr. 



This invention was suggested by another.* The article 
may be made of the gritted fabrics, tissue, or vellum, and 
its use may be deemed very important for instruction in draw- 
ing, as globes may be drawn upon them by the pupil with the 
pencil and pen, or with the brush and paints, and afterwards 
either washed off, or fastened on the globe by means of any 
transparent varnish. 


These are made of gum-elastic compound, in the same way 
as hollow ware, and have been before alluded to in the account 
of that manufacture. These may be said to be much more sub- 
stantial and durable than wood and plaster, so much so, that 
they may be used safely as bat and foot balls ; and after the 
first outlay of capital for moulds, &c., the cost of the manufac- 
ture will not be greater than for other bat and foot balls, aside 
from the expense of coloring, which may be done by inking in 
the moulds in such colors as will stand the heat at the time they 
are vulcanized. 


These are made of gum-elastic tissue and vellum, in the same 
manner as the globes already described, except that they have a 
funnel made of the same material, which passes through the 
globe, and which is cemented to it at each pole ; in the middle 
of the funnel is secured a fixture or cross bar, on which a lamp 
may be placed. The globe is thereby illuminated and becomes 
highly ornamental as well as useful for study at night. Al- 
though it may be turned round, it cannot be turned over with 

■ Mr. Henry Barnard, of Hartford, Conn., for many years superintendent of the State schools in 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 



All the different kinds of flexible globes described, may be 
made self-inflating by suspending them from the top or north 
pole, when they are hooped on the inside. This is done by a 
series of hoops, which may be made of wood, metal, or caout- 
chouc whalebone, according to the size of the globe, and the 
materials of which they are made, the hoops lessening in cir- 
cumference from the equator north and south, as they approach 
the poles, each globe requiring about seven of these hoops ; they 
are covered with tissue, and cemented to the globe on the inside 
during the process of manufacture. When packed, the hoops 
fit one within the other, causing the globe to occupy but a very 
small space. Although they cannot be packed in so small a 
space as those that are not hooped, they are in other respects 
much the most convenient ; and the whalebone hoops may also 
be bent or doubled crosswise, and they will again resume their 
shape, see fig. . These, as well as all the globes before de- 
scribed, may be mounted like other globes by the insertion of an 
axle, or pivot, in the tubes at the poles, one of which, the self- 
acting valve tube, is designed for inflating the globe, the other 
for letting off" the air. 



Experiments have recently been made with the gritted goods 
for these purposes, which promise to be successful. A par- 
ticular account of them will be deferred until more is known of 
their utility. 


This trifling article is made of gum-elastic sponge, and is very 
complete for the use for which it is designed. 



Among the numerous kinds of inkstands, made from a 
variety of substances, such as cork, wood, earthenware, china, 
stone, glass, leather, and the metals, those made of vulcanized 
gum-elastic may fairly claim particular notice, especially for 
pocket inkstands. They are durable as metal, extremely light, 
or (when loaded with metal) as heavy as may be desired, and 
have one peculiar superiority, that of being soft to the pen, and 
may have the pen-wiper of gum-elastic sponge attached to, 
and forming a part of the inkstand. 

They can be manufactured of any desirable shape, either of 
caoutchouc whalebone or ivory, combined with elastic com 
pound and sponge, advantageously. 


An improved inkstand is made from caoutchouc whalebone, 
elastic compound, and sponge combined. The ink is raised by 
compression in different ways. In the one represented in the 
plate, fig. , the ink is contained in a sack within the inkstand. 
In that represented by fig. , the sides of the inkstand are 
formed of elastic compound. In both kinds, turning a screw 
raises the ink : in fig. , it is done by the follower of the sack ; 
and in fig. , by the top of the inkstand being screwed down. 


This is used in a variety of ways, for making inkstands of 
different kinds tight in the joints. As the public are more or 
less acquainted with this use of the article, a description of them 
is considered unnecessary. 



It would seem hardly possible to improve upon the properties 
of the native gum, for erasing pencil marks, all things considered, 
and yet the vulcanized article has peculiar properties, which 
are desirable in some cases. It is made of three qualities, the 
gritted sponge compound, which is very soft and yielding ; the 
gritted magnesia compound, which is very hard, so that it will 
retain an edge or point, and very nearly answers the purpose of 
a knife for erasing ; and a medium quality which is gritted, and 
, resembles nearest the native gum. All these kinds are sharper, 
or cut faster than the native gum, but being less adhesive, that 
which is removed from the paper does not adhere to them, but 
has to be blown off, on this account they are thus far objection- 

The durability of these kinds of erasive gum, makes them 
applicable to the pencil-heads hereafter described, for which 
the native gum would not answer so well. 


These are made of the artist's India rubber before described ; 
they are set into metal sockets, as represented in the plates, 
figs. 1, 2 and 3, or are formed into rings or heads which are in- 
tended to slip over the ends of a wooden pencil or crayon of any 
description, as represented in figs. 4 and 5. The advantages to 
be derived from these pencil-heads are these : viz. being attached 
to the head of the pencil, they are always at hand for instant 
use, and are convenient either for the pocket or the desk, and 
though so very small, are so durable as to do the service of 
pieces of native gum many times larger. 


Rules of different kinds, both solid and hollow, are made very- 
complete of caoutchouc ivory and whalebone. 


A superior portfolio is made of caoutchouc board or whale- 
bone combined wdth gum-elastic vellum instead of morocco. 
The tablet is sometimes made with an extra thickness of vellum, 
or a sheet of the gum-elastic sponge fabric overlaying the cover, 
either of which forms a superior tablet for writing upon. 


Gum-elastic felt or vellum is a very cheap and suitable ar- 
ticle for the covering of counting-house, portable, and school 
desks. It is easy to write on a single sheet of paper upon either 
of these articles. 


Different kinds of map carpets are found useful for the cover- 
ing of floors, or the aisles of academies. These carpetings are 
variously described, Chapter , but that which may be par- 

ticularly recommended for school-houses on account of its 
cheapness and softness, preventing noise, is the cotton or woolen 
fibrous article. 




The application of caoutchouc whalebone to this use was 
first suggested by another.* 

The material has evidently the properties suited to this man- 
ufacture ; and from the trial that has been made of these pens, 
they appear to combine the good qualities both of the steel and 
quill pen, and on some accounts to be better than either. They 
are not rusted by the ink like steel, or softened Uke the quill, 
and move more smoothly on the paper than either the quill, 
steel, or gold pen. 


The use of vulcanized India rubber for pencils and crayons 
was first made by another, f by mixing the materials used for 
them, whether black, red, or white, with the gum. By this in- 
vention a great objection to most lead pencils appears to be 
overcome ; instead of crumbling like the lead, they are some- 
what elastic, make a good mark, and may be cut like leather. 

* James A. Dorr, Esq., New York. t Mr. John Rider, New York. 



Carpetings. Floor-cloths. Mosaic carpeting. Sponge carpet. Crumb-cloths. Tent carpets. 
Tents. Single tents. Tent fly. Awnings. Roofing. 


The utility and economy of this substance for a variety of 
carpetings, has been proved beyond a question, and no objection 
whatever has been found to them, except that which may, in 
some cases, be made to the odor of the gum. 

To numbers who have used them, this has not been found an 
objection, particularly where the goods have had some months' 
age before they were put to wear. 

The plated and fibrous fabrics are specially recommended for 
the different kinds of carpeting, because the gum does not peel 
from them, and likewise because these goods are so inelastic 
that they do not stretch and become loose, or crack, Hke the 
ordinary floor-cloths. 

Gum-elastic is particularly adapted to resist that kind of fric- 
tion to which carpeting is exposed. To illustrate this fact 
it is only necessary to allude to the durability of the soles of 
the overshoes, and to the report of some experiments that were 
made to test the wear of vulcanized gum-elastic, as compared 
with iron, which are stated, page 



Are made of the plated or fibrous fabrics, either of cotton or 
wool, and printed with oil like other floor cloths, or with callen- 
ders and in lithography, like other India rubber fabrics. 

When printed with oil, the pattern does not wear off so soon 
as from the common floor cloths, because the ground of the 
carpet is softer, and when printed in lithography is still moi'e 
durable, because the ink penetrates the gum. It is also softer 
to the feet, does not crack under any circumstances, and 
possesses this very great advantage, that, when the pattern is 
worn off", the goods are hardly less valuable than when new. 
They can be re-stamped or re-printed, and may be applied to 
other purposes, such as tarpaulins, &c. When the gum is applied 
to one side only of the woolen fibre, the other side being printed, 
a woolen winter carpet, as well as a gum-elastic summer carpet, 
is obtained from the same article. The same result is obtained 
where one side of the goods is napped with flocks. 


This is made like the carpeting already described of the same 
materials, with this difference ; the pattern is worked in or laid 
on, the colors being mixed with elastic compound cement, and 
laid on during the process of manufacture, while the goods are 
in a soft state, by which means the figure becomes part and par- 
cel of the carpet, and like mosaic, durable as the carpet itself. 
Marbled and simple patterns are formed in this way by sten- 
ciling. More elaborate patterns are formed by printing in 
colors by lithography ; and when these goods are finished by the 
method described under the head of Indelible Fabrics, (of which 
mosaic carpeting is considered one of the most important,) as 


beautiful patterns landscapes, &c., can be produced, as can be 
desired ; and, at the same time, as durable as the fabric itself. 


This carpeting is made of the same materials, and is printed 
in the same styles as the two kinds before described. The 
peculiarity of this article, which forms its chief recommenda- 
tion, is, that the back of the carpeting is formed of gum-elastic 
sponge, which renders it soft and elastic, even more so than the 
softest and most expensive kinds of woolen carpeting. 


These are but a lighter kind of carpet made of the plated or 
fibrous fabrics, which are made up at the factories into crumb 
cloths, from eight to twelve feet square, intended for the protec- 
tion of other carpeting, and commonly, under the table. This 
article, which has already been introduced to considerable ex- 
tent, has given entire satisfaction. 


These are made of the same material as the carpeting before 
described, except that they are of a lighter sort, and so con- 
structed with eyelet holes, that they may be used upon occasion 
as tents or awnings. When attached to the tent with snaps, as 
represented in plate , fig. , they render it warm and com- 
fortable, and prevent the rain and snow from driving underneath 
the tent. It may be considered superfluous to remark upon the 
adaptation of these fabrics to this use, or to say that whenever 



persons are compelled to sleep on the ground, whether in jour- 
neying or in encampment, especially when they are thus ex- 
posed to wet weather, or upon marshy soil, an article which 
excludes all dampness must be a great comfort, and a great 
security to health, i 


Are made of plated cloths or corded and barred fabrics, and 
of various patterns, some of which are represented in plate 
An objection has formerly been made against India rubber goods 
for tents, on account of their closeness, excluding the light, and 
on account of their being black, they wpre considered hotter 
in sunshine than canvas. But with the improvement lately 
made in lighting and ventilating gum-elastic tents, as repre- 
sented in plate , fig. , together with the fact that they are now 
made white and have the appearance of canvas, it is suggested 
that these fabrics will be found to answer this purpose better 
than the cotton and linen canvas heretofore used for tents. 
Among the different patterns represented in the plates that may 
be noticed, are fig. , made of ventilated goods. Fig. , which 
is pitched with a pole that is jointed, and may be readily taken in 
parts for transportation. The utiUty of India rubber tents has 
thus far been questioned, partly on account of the first cost, and 
partly on account of the objections stated. By the introduction 
of the fibrous fabrics, the first objection will be removed, and it 
is thought that the latter one will be so by the improved varied 
construction of the articles. 



Single tents may be best formed of the plated or corded 
gum-elastic fabrics. They may also be made by pitching the 
camp blanket, which is sometimes constructed with eyelets, 
and a fly for this use, as represented in the plate, fig. ; about 
one-third of the blanket being turned under, so as to form the 
carpet or bottom of the tent. It is often very desirable to use 
gum-elastic for sleeping on the ground, but on account of its 
closeness, in dry and moderate weather, it is unsafe for one to 
be wrapped in it closely. The use of caoutchouc for the single 

tent is without objection. 


This might be properly termed an awning made with eyelets, 
which is sometimes used in stormy weather, or hot sunshine, 
over cloth or canvas tents, in the manner represented in the 
plate. It may also be used with economy as a chaffing mat, or 
a tent carpet. 


Where the first cost of awnings is not a consideration, the 
cheaper gum-elastic fabrics may be used advantageously, on 
account of their durability and waterproof quality. Plated 
linen musquito netting is most suitable among the different 
fabrics for this purpose. 




One of the most frequent inquiries of those who speculate 
upon the uses of India rubber is, Why is it not suitable for roof- 
ing. A canvas substantial enough for this purpose, coated by 
the former method, would have been too expensive. By the 
present method, however, of plating such canvas with caout- 
chouc and cotton fibre, a roofing may be made to answer ex- 
ceedingly well, and not too expensive. 




Wall coverings. Table spreads. Piano-forte covers. Box coveringf. Trunk covering. Um- 
brella cloths. Bellows coverings. Instrument covers. Matress covers. Coffee, grain, and fruit 
covers. Hay rick covers. Storm hat covers. Jar covers. Phial mouth covers. Baggage 
covers. Besk coverings. Bed spreads. Bed covering and ticking. 

Gum- ELASTIC spreads and covers, of various sorts, have hereto- 
fore been made of coated cloths, instead of w^hich the fibrous 
fabrics are recommended for these purposes. The heavier sorts 
may be nailed or laid upon wood or pasteboard, with paste or 
glue, and are decidedly more durable than leather of the same 
thickness for covering trunks, boxes, &c. 


Gum-elastic tissue, or very thin vellum, is well adapted for 
the covering of walls. It may be either printed like paper- 
hangings, or in lithography, or with calenders after the manner 
of calico printing. 

Its most important use is probably the covering of walls, 
which are exposed to damp. If these fabrics are applied with 
gum-elastic, or any w^ater-proof cement, they make a desirable 
covering for walls in cases where paper is useless. When 
finished after the various styles of printing, coloring, or gilding, 
they are as elegant as can be desired. 

They will not soil easily, and when soiled can be easily 


cleansed by washing. Their great durability recommends their 
use instead of ordinary paper-hangings, although their first cost 
is more than the cheaper kinds of paper. 


Are made of napped and plated fabrics. These goods are 
proved to be particularly adapted to this use, and are found to 
be most effectual in preserving furniture from dust, and the 
effects of the atmosphere. Various kinds of ornamenting are 
made use of for this purpose, so that the article may be as 
highly ornamented as can be desired, either by printing, paint- 
ing, gilding, or bronzing. 


Like the table spreads already described, are made of napped 
and plated fabrics. Their great superiority consists in their 
preserving the tone of the instrument, by protecting it from the 
changes of the atmosphere, and the polish by keeping it secure 
from dust. Previous to the discovery of the vulcanizing pro- 
cess, common India rubber cloths were, for the above reasons, 
uniformly used for this purpose, by one of the most celebrated 
piano-forte makers in the United States, to protect the instru- 
ments in the warehouse previous to sale. The same remarks 
apply to these covers that have been made of table spreads and 
indelible goods, in regard to finish and ornamenting. 




Bandboxes, and a great variety of pasteboard and light 
wooden boxes, may be covered with vellum or tissue to great 
advantage ; tissue being used for the lighter, and vellum for 
heavier kinds. The goods may be applied to the wood or paste- 
board either with paste or glue, in the same way that leather 
and paper-hangings are applied. That travelers in the present 
age should rest satisfied with the slight service rendered by 
paper boxes, can only be accounted for by their cheapness. 
Although their first cost is but little, they are in the end expen- 
sive on account of the very short time they last, oftentimes 
when exposed to wet, not answering for a single journey. By 
covering paper boxes with vellum, and staying them in the man- 
ner described, page , specimens of these have been found to 
do service for years, like trunks. 


Vellum is suitable and cheap for the covering of trunks, and 
vegetable leather as a substitute for animal leather for the 
heavier and more expensive kinds of trunks. The goods may 
also be used as a substitute for canvas, and made up with the 
needle for outer coverings, or chaffing mats, for boxes and 
trunks, where it is desirable to protect them from wet. 



Gum-elastic tissue, corded tissue, and plated muslins, are best 
suited for umbrella coverings. The lightest description of 
plated cotton musquito net is very suitable for this purpose. All 
these fabrics may be made up with the needle, but are most 
completely made up at the factories, as described under the 
head of Umbrellas, Chapter 


Among the many uses of these fabrics, there are probably 
none to which they are more perfectly adapted than for the 
covering of bellows. The fact of this important use of the 
fabrics having been hitherto so little noticed, can only be ac- 
counted for by its being lost sight of in the multitude of other 
applications of the fabrics. Gum-elastic vellum is most suitable 
for small hand and accordion bellows ; plated canvas and 
vegetable leather for smiths' and organ bellows. With these 
fabrics there is no loss of power, as is the case with animal 
leather, by the escape of air through the pores. They are not 
scorched or ignited from sparks like leather, and they are not 
injured by water. They are, for these purposes, undoubtedly 
more durable and cheaper than leather. 


Instruments of various kinds are advantageously covered with 
the fabrics. Musical instruments are well protected by them 


from the changes of the atmosphere, and dust, and it is asserted 
by the most celebrated instrument makers, that the tone of in- 
struments is preserved by the use of these covers. They are 
manufactured in the shape of bags or cases, quite air-tight, or 
otherwise, to fit the various instruments for which they are 


These are made of impervious plated fabrics, and are intended 
expressly for camp or ships' use, for the protection of beds and 
matresses. The mouth of the cover may be tied tight enough 
to exclude water when immersed in it. A number of matresses 
protected by these covers, when thrown into, and secured to a boat 
ever so leaky,will make it a complete life-boat, much safer to rely 
upon than if the same matresses were filled with air. The same 
covers will, upon occasion, serve as ships' letter-bags, or for the 
preservation of property, and when filled with light articles will 
answer the same purpose as above specified as floats or life-pre- 


These are made of plated caoutchouc fabrics, of a conical 
form, at the factories, and are well suited for the protection of 
coffee, grain, or fruits, but more particularly coffee, when gath- 
ered and left for a time in the fields. See plate , fig. 


These are made at the factories, of the same material, in the 
same way as coffee covers, already described. For such a use, 


the first cost of a sufficient number of these to protect the hay 
of a whole field is an objection, but when it is considered that 
the same set may be used by a neighborhood, and when the 
length of time they will last is taken into consideration, they will 
be found to be economical. 


These are made of tissue or corded tissue, either at the facto- 
ries or with the needle. They are designed as a substitute for 
the oiled silk covers, being not only better, but much cheaper 
than the oil silk. They are sometimes made with a cape of tis- 
sue, see plate , fig. . This article, when made with the cape, 
like the storm cap or cape, will be found very useful and exceed- 
ingly comfortable to the wearer in stormy weather. 


The tops of these are made of caoutchouc whalebone or 
board, covered with tissue or vellum, united with a rim of gum- 
elastic compound, see plate , fig. . They will be found to 
answer a good purpose for housekeepers for securing pickle, 
preserve, and other jars, and for making them perfectly tight, 
which it is often exceedingly difficult to do, either by common 
corks or by tying. 


Gum-elastic drapery and tissue may often be used with advan- 
tage by druggists and others, for securing the mouths of bottles, 
jars, and phials, instead of skins and parchment, that are often 


s . s^^ 



Baggage covers are manufactured of plated, corded, and 
barred caoutchouc fabrics. These fabrics are lighter, stronger, 
and much more suitable for this purpose, than the India rubber 
coated cloths that have been heretofore applied to this use. It 
may be said that this is emphatically one of the proper and un- 
objectionable uses of gum-elastic fabrics. 


See Chapter I., — Educational. 


Plated cloth and vellum are both found useful for this pur- 
pose. They are made from a yard to a yard and a half square, 
and are commonly cut from the fabrics that are sold at the 
shops, for the protection of feather beds and matresses in cases 
of sickness, and in the nursery. When spread upon the bed and 
under the clothing, their use is without objection. This article 
is not designed as an outer covering or spread, and should not 
be used for that purpose, except when persons are exposed to 
storms or extreme cold. 


The porous, fibrous, and plated fabrics will be found suitable 
on ship-board and elsewhere, for the above uses, on account of 
their cleanliness and durability. 







Clothes brushes. Portable bx-ushes. Scrubs. Hand scrubs. Covered bottles and phials. 
Covered demijohns. Wash-boards. Sieves. Screens. Tunnels. Bellows. Ice-water tanks. 
Wood carriers. Muff bags. Muff boxes. Door mats. Table mats. Coffee-pot and urn 
strainers. Pans and dishes. Tea and coffee sets. Improved preserve jars. Flower-pots and 
vases. Flower sacks. Ewer and wash bowls. Pitchers and tumblers. Water buckets. 
Portable water buckets. Fire buckets. Portable fire buckets. Wash tubs. Portable wash 
tubs. Baskets. Portable baskets. Dish baskets. Market and fish baskets. Coal hods. Table 
cutlery. Pocket cutlery. Furniture. Improved brushes. Elastic brushes. Paste bag. 

These articles are made of the different fabrics and wares ; 
wiien required, tliey are stayed in various ways with iron or 
wood, in order to render them more or less portable, or give them 
a greater or less degree of stiffness. It may be stated in respect 
to a great variety, if not all articles of this kind which are not 
to be brought in contact with fire, that in many cases they pos- 
sess peculiar advantages over either earthen, wood, or metal, es- 
pecially for ships' and camp use ; and, although for some time to 
come their first cost must be greater than that of wood or 
earthen, yet, when properly made, they will be found, in conse- 
quence of their durability, in comparison with other things, not 
to he expensive. Descriptions and drawings of only a few of 
these articles are here given. The recent introduction of sponge 
and the hard compounds among the fabrics, bids fair to extend 
this chapter almost indefinitely, if there is ever an attempt to 
enumerate all the articles of this kind that may be made of them 
to advantage. 


These are constructed of elastic sponge, of various forms and 
patterns, either fastened upon a wooden or caoutchouc ivory 


handle, or so shaped and otherwise stiffened as to need no 
handle. They do not remove dust from some cloths so well as 
bristle brushes, but in every respect they may be said to answer 
the general purposes of a brush far better than bristles ; and they 
are decidedly more effective than any other brush for cleaning 
silk and cotton velvets, also silks and crapes. If any persons 
are disposed to question the utility of these brushes, let them 
consider the peculiar property of gum-elastic, and its usefulness 
in cleaning paper, and they will not doubt that it may also be 
adapted to the purposes here specified. 


These are also made of coarsely embossed elastic compound, 
or vellum, or gum-elastic sponge, so constructed as to be inflated 
with the self-acting valve tube like other air- work, as represented 
in plate xiii., fig. 1. The same properties attach to them as to 
the brushes before described, with one other advantage, they 
can be packed in a very small compass when collapsed. 


Scrubs are made of caoutchouc sponge or packing fastened 
upon blocks of different kinds, with or without handles, according 
to the use for which they are designed. They are fast getting 
into favor for scouring vessel's decks, and for the scrubbing 
of floors. They are incomparably more durable and economical 
than bristles. A nautical term, that of squeal-gee, is also applied 
to this article with a handle. See plate xvi., fig. 1, 



These are made of a heavy sheet of gum-elastic sponge, 
fastened upon a board, to be used for the purpose of scouring 
floors. For this purpose they are more effectual than brushes 
made of bristles; and on account of their durability, are in the 
end, much cheaper. See plate xiii., fig. 2. 


These are first covered with gum-elastic vellum, and after- 
vs^ards with caoutchouc whalebone. They are subsequently 
vulcanized in moulds. Coverings of this sort serve to keep the 
bottles or phials from breaking, and they possess one great 
advantage over those heretofore covered with willow, straw, and 
splints, that when the bottles are broken, the contents will be 
safe ; such covered bottles being in fact two bottles, one internal 
of glass, and one external of gum-elastic. 

For persons travelling, for ship's use, and for sportsmen, their 
superiority cannot fail to be appreciated. Small bottles and 
phials are most neatly made by being first covered, and then 
heated in moulds like hollow ware, by which method greater 
uniformity, and more perfect execution can be attained in the 


• These are covered in the same way as phials and bottles, ex- 
cept that a heavy description of gum-elastic vellum cord is 
used for covering them, and the glass is protected by a heavier 
coating of vellum ; or, for many purposes glass need not be 
used, but the demijohns may be made like sportsmen's bottles, or 



flasks of caoutchouc whalebone, and stiffened with hoops and 
bands of wood or iron. Demijohns of this sort may be highly 
recommended for containing acids, which soon destroy willow 
coverings ; and also for wines and liquors, which improve by 
being kept from the light. One important consideration in the 
use of these demijohns is, that there is no danger of the loss of 
the contents, even if the glass breaks, or of other goods being 
damaged from the spilling of acids, which often happens from 
the breaking of demijohns. See plate , fig. . 


These boards are made with a covering of elastic sponge, 
moulded in the common form of wash-boards. Few specimens 
of the articles have yet been made, but from the trial that 
has been made of them they may be expected to give satisfac- 
tion, although the first cost may prove a hindrance to their 
general use. The elastic sponge will probably also be found 
useful in its application, among the numerous varieties of wash- 
ing machines that are now made wholly of wood. 


The hoops of this article may be manufactured of caoutchouc 
board, whalebone or other suitable materials. For the sieve or 
strainer, perforated elastic compound or whalebone is used. How 
far this article will be adopted for common use, remains to be 
seen ; but the inventor is of opinion, that in certain cases, they 
will be found highly useful for straining or cleansing articles or 
chemicals that corrode, and destroy haircloth or wire sieve. 



These are made of perforated caoutchouc drapery, or whale- 
bone, which may, in many cases, be substituted in safes, 
windows, and cupboards for metal gauzes, on account of its 
cheapness, and not being liable to corrode. 


Are made of cord ware, hollow ware, elastic compound, or 
caoutchouc whalebone. They are designed for druggists' use, as a 
substitute for glass or wedgewood. For common use, they pos- 
sess the superiority over tin of not being liable to be damaged, or 
to corrosion. When made of cord ware, hollow ware, or elastic 
compound, they have another advantage, that of being portable. 
See plate xiii., fig. 3. 


Wooden bellows are covered with the vulcanized fabrics, as 
proposed under the head of bellows' covering. An improved 
kind of smith and other bellows is made by covering a hoop of 
iron or wood, as represented in plate xiii., fig. 4, and afterwards 
cementing the covering to the hoop. This kind is made up 
only at the factories, while the gum is in a soft state. Beside 
the advantages which have been claimed for these fabrics, under 
the head of Bellows Covering, this article avoids entirely the 
great objection of leakage, about the parts where leather is com- 
monly nailed to the wood, of which almost every person must 
have knowledge who has had much occasion to use bellows. 



This article is made of vegetable leather, and is constructed 
with two apartments, one for ice, the other for water, with a faucet 
attached, as represented in plate , fig. . It answers the 
purpose of keeping water cool a great length of time, when ice 
is put into the separate apartment, and equally as well with bad 
as with good ice. - 


Though an article of limited demand, may be advantageously 
made of vegetable leather or plated canvas, instead of harness 
leather, which has heretofore been used for this purpose. See 
plate xiii., fig. 5. 


These are made of plated or corded vellum, with a mouth 
of light fabric, of gum-elastic vellum or tissue, that may be 
tied quite tight. They are a cheap and valuable article for 
the protection of furs and woolen goods from moths. If the 
articles are well shaken and beaten before they are packed, for 
the purpose of removing the eggs of the moth, the goods kept 
in these bags will be safe from the ravages of this destructive 



These are made of pasteboard, covered with gum-elastic 
tissue or vellum. The lids are made so as to be air-tight, when 
shut, in the same manner as bandboxes, see plate , fig. 
Furs that are well beaten and shaken before they are packed, 
will not be molested by moths if kept in these boxes. 


These are made of covered cordage or elastic sponge, of the 
same pattern as the common rope-mats, or otherwise. The 
superiority claimed for this article, consists in its softness and 
durability, and the ease with which it may be cleansed, simply 
by rinsing it in water ; besides, they are not liable to decay, or 
to get damaged, by being left outside the door, exposed to the 
weather. See plate xiii., fig. 6. 


These are made of gum-elastic wicker work, or heavy vellum, 
or caoutchouc whalebone, all of which fabrics are well adapted 
for the article. The fabrics may be elegantly ornamented after 
the manner of indelible goods, as well as in various other styles. 
They are in no way aflfected by the heat of dishes, and are re- 
commended on account of their great durability and cleanliness. 



These are made of perforated caoutchouc ivory. It is sup- 
posed that this fabric will prove superior to tin or metal for this 
and other like purposes, because it will not rust like tin, nor 
corrode like metal. 


Some kinds, at least, of pans and dishes may be made with 
advantage from gum-elastic, both from the elastic fabrics and from 
caoutchouc enamel, which are superior for some uses to such ar- 
ticles made of other materials. This was proved at an early day 
by the use of the article in the factories in the course of the in- 
ventor's experiments. They were made from curiosity, or from 
the want of them for immediate use. The lapse of time, how- 
ever, proved that they remained whole while successive sets 
of tin and crockery were either rusted out or broken. This cir- 
cumstance first suggested the idea of making them for the 


These sets are manufactuted to be used in the field, the camp 
or kitchen, and on shipboard. In many cases, there will be 
economy in their use ; though to recommend them generally 
instead of crockery, would be absurd. 




Different methods have been suggested in this work for cork- 
ing and covering preserve, pickle, and other jars ; another 
method, invented by a crockery merchant of New York, 
although somewhat more expensive, may be considered an im- 
provement deserving particular notice. The covers of earthen 
or china jars, (the jars being suitably constructed for this pur- 
pose,) are, by a screw and bar, or cross-piece, pressed down 
upon a shoulder or rest in the jar, which is made quite air- 
tight by means of a ring or packing of gum-elastic between the 
lid and shoulder of the jar. See plate , fig. . 


Perforated caoutchouc whalebone or board, although expen- 
sive in comparison with crockei'y or wood, is a suitable material 
for flower-pots, on account of the free transmission of air and 
moisture through it. Caoutchouc ivory, not perforated, may be 
applied to flower-vases without the same objection of expensive- 
ness, for the reason that it may be made so ornamental as to be 
substituted for china, and because they are not liable to be 
broken like china, while they are equally water-proof. 


This is a convenient and useful little article for the florist, or 
Others who wish to transport or carry flowers with moisture, 
or roots with earth. They are made by machinery from gum- 
elastic fabrics, after the method described, Vol. I., page , and 
with such rapidity and cheapness that they may be afforded at 
the reasonable rate which is required for a purpose like this. 




The liability of these articles to be broken, when made of 
earthen, particularly where they are used on board ship, in 
hotels, and in all situations where water may be left to freeze 
in the ewers, renders the application of gum-elastic to their 
manufacture very desirable ; they may be made either of caout- 
chouc whalebone or ivory. 


Sportsmen's cups of different kinds, and portable or flexible 
pitchers of gum-elastic compound, have been described else- 
where in this work, but the articles here referred to, which it is 
supposed may be found useful, ai-e made of caoutchouc whale- 
bone. They are not liable to be broken, and there does not 
appear to be any particular objection in their use. 


Are manufactured of caoutchouc whalebone or board, with a 
hoop of wood or iron around the top covered with the same 
material. These buckets are not only useful in many cases 
for vessels, for the camp, and the garden, but also for the 


Are made of gum-elastic felt or vegetable leather, stayed around 
the top with a covered hoop of wood or iron, in the same way 


as the buckets before described. The fabrics are made of that 
degree of flexibility that the bucket may be compressed into a 
small space for transportation, and yet so firm and elastic that 
it will resume its shape when unpacked. For this, among other 
reasons, it is a useful bucket, particularly for coachmen and 
wagoners. See plate , fig. 


Caoutchouc whalebone and leather are suitable materials for 
fire-buckets, from which they have been made, to considerable 
extent, in the United States. 

In the early stage of the manufacture, coated canvas was used 
for water and fire buckets, which did not give satisfaction on 
account of the gum peeling from the canvas, but since the above 
articles have been substituted for the canvas, a good article has 
been obtained. See plate , fig. 


It is oftentimes necessary, and especially on board of vessels, 
to carry a number of water or fire-buckets, to which there is a 
great objection on account of the space which they occupy. A 
kind of bucket which it is proposed to manufacture of caout- 
chouc leather, is represented in plate , fig. . The shape of 
this article appears to be objectionable, as it does not open so as 
to be round like other buckets, but it is supposed that the advan- 
tage arising from the compactness of stowing them, may more 
than counterbalance the objections to their shape. When in 
use they are kept open by a brace at the top. See plate , 




These are manufactured of caoutchouc whalebone or board, 
and stayed with wood or iron hoops and spHnts, covered with 
gum-elastic materials. They may be recommended for light- 
ness and durability, for ship and camp use, if not for the kitchen. 
See plate . , fig. . 


Portable wash-tubs are manufactured of caoutchouc plated 
and corded fabrics. They may be attached to a wooden frame 
or horse, as represented by the child's bath-tub, plate , fig. 
or they may be arranged by movable supports, as represented 
by the bath-tub, plate , fig . 


Field and other baskets may be manufactured of wicker-work. 
Although more expensive, they are more durable than splints 
or willow. Fancy and fruit baskets are also made of caout- 
chouc, without objection on the score of expense, in comparison 
with many other kinds that are less durable. 


Baskets of different sorts are so constructed of gum-elastic 
wicker-work, as to have that degree of pliability that they may 
be compressed in a very small space, and afterwards resume 
their shape with stiffness sufficient to be used for all ordinary 



Baskets of any kind, such as are used in public houses or on 
board steamboats, when Hned with gum-elastic vellum, instead 
of zinc or tin, will be found lighter to carry, occasioning less 
noise, and less risk to the dishes placed in them, than when 
lined with metal. 


These baskets, which have usually been made of willow or 
spUnts, may be advantageously made of caoutchouc whalebone 
and vegetable leather, and are very valuable on account of their 
durability, water-proof quality, and cleanliness, for purposes of 
this sort, for the reason that they may be used for marketing, 
and afterwards cleansed, so as to be used for liquids, or other 
substances, such as flour, meal, &;c., if desired. 


Coal-hods are manufactured from caoutchouc whalebone 
board or vegetable leather ; they are stayed and rendered firm 
by hoops and braces of wood or iron. 

The improvement which may fairly be claimed for this article 
is, that it will not rust like sheet iron, that it is cheaper than 
copper or brass, and is not noisy to use like either of these. 


One of the most important applications of caoutchouc ivory is 
that of handles for table cutlery. When put on in a soft state. 



before they are vulcanized, they adhere so firmly that they will 
not come off, and it is impossible to get them off without great 
violence ; neither are they in any way injured by lying in boil- 
ing water any length of time ; ' are equally beautiful as buffalo- 
horn or ivory, and may be ornamented and inlaid in a variety of 


A very important improvement is made by the use of caout- 
chouc ivory for the scales or covering of the handles of pocket 
cutlery, as well as the handles of many other instruments. 

The ivory scales are joined to the handles without rivets, 
when the ivory is in a soft state, before being vulcanized. 
This method is more particularly described in the inventor's 
specification of the patent for this improvement. 


Different kinds of furniture may be covered with veneers of 
caoutchouc enamel rolled out into thin sheets before it is vul- 
canized. The cost of these veneers, in comparison with fine 
wood of different kinds, is much less, and they are unquestionably 
superior on the score of hardness and durability, from not being 
liable to warp and crack. 




Sereral kinds of brushes, and- particularly clothes, hair, and 
tooth brushes, are made advantageously of gum-elastic ivory 
and whalebone, in the following manner. The block or part in 
which the bristles are inserted may be made of wood or of gum- 
elastic whalebone. In this case, the holes in which the bristles 
are inserted are made with pins by one impression or stamping 
in the plastic material. The part in which the bristles are in- 
serted is afterwards glued or fastened by screws into the handle 
of India rubber ivory, which is made with a rim around the edge 
to receive it. See plate , fig. 


These brushes, which are of curious construction, are formed 
of octagonal or round tubes of elastic compound, set endwise 
upon a handle of caoutchouc ivory. These tubes are cemented 
together at the sides, and when cemented upon the handle, the 
brush has the appearance of a honey-comb on the face. They 
are better than the sponge brush, described in the beginning of 
the chapter, for removing dust from garments, but not so good 
for removing grease spots, &,c. See plate , fig. 


The inconvenience of keeping flour paste for any length of 
time in such a state that it will not soon dry up, is experienced 
by many. This difficulty may be avoided by the use of a bag 
made of India rubber fabrics, as represented plate , fig. 
That represented by fig. , made in the shape of a plain bottle, 
fig. , is constructed like self-inflating air-work. In both of 
them the tubular stopper is used. This bag will be found both 
economical and convenient. 




Machine belting. Well ropes. Deckel straps. Elevators. Cane elevators. Printing tympans. 
Printers' rolls. Compressing apparatus. Preserving apparatus. Improved portable preserving 
apparatus. Steelyards and scales. Bakers' belting. Printing aprons. Match dies. Windmill 
sails. Thimbles. Sail-makers' thimbles. Stereotype plates. Stereotype moulds. Tool 

The appliance of the fabrics, and particularly of the elastic 
compound, to machinery, and also its uses in facilitating in 
various ways the manipulation of different departments of nu- 
merous manufactures, continue to increase ; descriptions of 
such of them as are ascertained to be certainly useful, are given 
in this chapter. 


This was one of the first manufactures of India rubber in the 
United States. It was manufactured to a considerable extent 
by the Roxbury Company, as early as 1836. The gum being 
used upon the inside only, as a cement for holding the different 
layers of canvas together. It was found to answer tolerably, so 
that the manufacture of it was continued during the existence 
of the Roxbury Company. Upon the application of vulcanized 
gum-elastic to the same use in 1843, the right for that branch 
was disposed of by the writer to Henry Edwards, Esq., of Bos- 
ton, who, in 1845, purchased also of him the celebrated Roxbury 
machinery, and employed it in the manufacture of machine 
belting. In the manufacture of this article, the gum is used for 


cementing several layers of strong canvas together, according 
to the size of the belt. The gum is also applied upon the out- 
side of the belt. The article is becoming so generally knov^^n 
and extensively used, that to speak of its qualities is unneces- 
sary, except to say that in addition to its general usefulness, it 
may be considered an indispensable article where belting has to 
be run under water. 


Ropes, or India rubber covered cordage, or straps of narrow 
machine belting, are advantageously used for wells, on account 
of their water-proof qualities. 


The deckel strap is a belt of vulcanized gum-elastic, about one 
inch in thickness, and one inch and one-fourth in width, and 
from ten to twenty feet in length. This article is used as a part 
of the fondernier machine for the manufacture of paper, and 
prevents the pulp from escaping in the revolution of the machine. 
This is one of those peculiar applications, in which both the 
elastic and water-proof qualities of this substance are desirable, 
and in which no other substance answers so good a purpose, as 
it is run constantly in water. 


These are made of caoutchouc fabrics, the belt of the elevator 
being made in the same way as machine belting. The buckets 
may be made of tin, and attached in the same way as has com- 


monly been done with leather elevators, or they may be made 
of caoutchouc whalebone, and cemented on in the process of 
manufacture. They are used in flour mills for elevating flour 
and grain, or other articles, from vessels to store-houses, see 
plate , fig. . The cheapness of this article, as well as its 
durability, recommends it to the notice of millers in particular. 


It has been suggested by a gentleman formerly engaged in 
the manufacture of sugar in Louisiana, that broad India rubber 
belts, with carriers attached, would be made very superior to the 
elevators now in use for elevating cane to the grinding mills, 
when they are placed in the upper story of the building. 


During the whole course of the writer's experiments, frequent 
inquiries have been made of him by different printers and pub- 
lishers, at different times, whether India rubber fabrics might 
not be successfully applied for printing tympans. Various ex- 
periments were made at an early day, both with the common 
and the vulcanized coated cloths. These experiments failed. 
Recently a trial has been made of the fibrous cotton fabric, or 
vegetable leather, -which appears to be completely successful ; 
and which, if so, is an acquisition to the art of printing. 

g^» S^^)J 




As of printing tympans, so of printer's inking rolls, it is a 
desideratum with the trade to find some substitute for the com- 
mon roll, made of molasses and glue. Experiments were made 
with the native gum, and also with vulcanized elastic com- 
pound, both of which failed from being too unyielding. Some 
experiments are now being made with gum-elastic sponge, 
which it is confidently expected will prove successful. 


This is the invention of another, for the purpose of salting 
meats. It consists of two copper or iron cyUnders, one inserted 
within the other, and connected by a belt of gum-elastic, as 
represented by the diagram , plate 

The machine is designed for salting meats ins<,antaneously, or 
at least in a very few minutes. It has been tried experiment- 
ally, and found to answer most completely. The same principle 
may also be applied to tanning hides, and to other purposes 
equally well. It is a fact not generally known, that in some 
climates where cattle are most numerous, as in some parts both 
of North and South America, the beef cannot be salted at all. 
Should these machines be found to answer the purpose of salting 
in these countries, as they do here, it is an exceedingly im- 
portant improvement, both as relates to those countries and the 
world at large. Some individuals of enterprise in New York, 
ai^e, at this time, giving their attention to this subject. Should 
this application prove successful, a more minute account of the 
apparatus, and the benefits resulting from its use, will be given. 



The invention of another, here described, is an apparatus 
for preserving fruits, vegetables, and other perishable articles 
from decay, by which they may be transmitted from one 
country to another. It consists of a box or barrel of any 
shape desired, with a loose or movable lid ; the vessel may be 
ever so rough or unfinished, but must be strong to prevent col- 
lapsing. It is covered with a case of gum-elastic leather in two 
parts, and a band or belt of gum-elastic compound is drawn over 
the opening or seam, between the two parts of the covering. 
When this article with its contents are packed, the air is 
pumped out, and the tube being stopped, the article becomes air- 
tight. This apparatus has been tried experimentally for ship- 
ments to the West Indies, and found to answer. 

The preserving of articles by hermetical sealing has, for many 
years, been practised to some extent, with tin cases, but the ex- 
pense of preserving fruits, &c., by this method, would be too 
great for transportation. It may be expected that by some 
such method as here proposed, the fruits of different climes 
may be transmitted from one part of the globe to the other, 
including such as, from their perishable nature, could not other- 
wise be kept long enough for this purpose. See plate , fig. 



The principal, if not the only objection which appears to 
exist to the invention before described, is the difficulty attending 
the re-shipment of packages. This has, however, led to an im- 
provement upon this invention, which removes this objection. 

When this apparatus is made for transporting articles that 
are not liable to be injured by pressure, the gum-elastic case is 
simply a bag of caoutchouc fabrics, in two halves, the edges of 
which are made of an elastic fabric. These bags are drawn 
over and secured upon an iron or other metal band, as repre- 
sented, plate , fig. 

When fruit or other articles which are liable to injury by 
pressure, are to be preserved, and shipped or transported, these 
bags are distended by a jointed metal or wooden frame, as rep- 
resented, plate , fig. . By this arrangement there is no loss 
of packages, as in the case of preserving articles in tin boxes. 
In all cases the air is exhausted from these bags and receivers 
with the force-pump, through a hose which is attached for this 
purpose. The frame packed with the bags occupies httle space. 


The application of vulcanized gum-elastic to steelyards and 
scales, particularly hay scales, is the invention of another. The 
manufacture has not been established, but from the well-known 
properties of this substance, there is little reason to doubt that 
there will be economy and advantage derived from this applica- 
tion to large scales. 


At a very early period, and soon after the discovery of the 
vulcanizing process, gum-elastic was successfully applied to the 


manufacture of belts, upon which the dough is cut by the ma- 
chines which are used for the manufacture of biscuits and 
crackers. See plate , fig. 

This was invented by another, and tried with the native gum, 
previous to the discovery of the vulcanizing process. 


This is an endless belt or apron, made of gum-elastic felt or 
vegetable leather ; they are used in printing calicos and other 
stuffs, instead of the woolen felt blankets, which have formerly 
been used, and are objectionable on account of their expensive- 
ness and want of durability. It is obvious that the properties 
and texture of this fabric are such as to remedy this defect, in 
this extensive department of industry. 


Gum-elastic compound has been found exceedingly useful for 
match dies, instead of lead and copper, for striking up impres- 
sions in paper, sheet metal, and other materials. 


The advantages that may be derived from the use of India 
rubber fabrics instead of common canvas for windmill sails, are 
very obvious. They are made from plated canvas and the 
corded fibrous fabrics. 



Thimbles may be made either of perforated caoutchouc 
whalebone or ivory, with metal ends. It is supposed, that for 
cheap thimbles, these substances will be less objectionable than 
brass or iron. 


The hand pieces of these thimbles are made of perforated 
vegetable leather, into which the thimble irons are set before 
the thimbles are vulcanized. 


At the suggestion of another, the writer has made these 
plates from vulcanized caoutchouc whalebone and ivory, and 
also from the elastic compound, both of which materials it is 
confidently expected will be found useful in this art. 

The practical advantages which are to result from this inven- 
tion for printing books are yet to be determined ; but in other 
branches of this art, there is no question as to its importance, 
as in the case of block and cylinder printing for paper-hangings, 
having the advantage of cheapness, and not being liable to warp 
or split. The plates may be wound upon drums or cylinders for 
cylinder printing, without difficulty. 



Stereotype moulds, made from the hard compounds of caout- 
chouc ivory and whalebone, and vulcanized, are unquestionably 
an improvement which will afford new facilities for moulding 
other materials, and for multiplying works of art, especially 
where they are reproduced in caoutchouc compounds. Not- 
withstanding their first cost is something more than that of 
plaster moulds or casts, there is great economy and advantage 
in their use, because, instead of being lost, like plaster, with 
every impression, they may be used, like metal, an indefinite 
number of times. 

In the state in which the caoutchouc material is used for 
making the moulds, it is so soft and plastic, that perfect copies 
may be immediately taken from the finest work of art, in any 
material, whether metal, plaster, wood, leather, cloth, or paper. 


It is well known that much perplexity and annoyance are 
experienced in the use of very many kinds of tools and instru- 
ments, from the handles coming loose from them. This evil 
may be remedied, particularly in all small tools and instruments, 
by the use of caoutchouc ivory and whalebone for the handles. 
These handles, when in a soft state, are put on the rough 
shanks of the instruments, and are vulcanized on them so firmly 
that they will bear a hard blow of the hammer without injury 
and without becoming loose. 




Sheathing. Caulking. Engine packing. Box packing. Door packing. Window paxsking. 

The reader will notice that the statements relating to the 
articles described in this chapter are mostly qualified, except that 
of engine packing, which has proved quite successful, and the 
tests in the use of it being so much more severe than upon 
other articles described in this chapter ; the writer feels war- 
ranted in assuming something in anticipation as relates to them, 
notwithstanding they have not yet been sufficiently tested in a 
practical way. When that shall be, it is believed that the ad- 
vantages will be found to exceed, rather than fall short of what 
is here presumed upon. 


It has at different periods been suggested to the writer, that 
India rubber fabrics would be useful for sheathing, instead of 
copper sheaths. The writer's knowledge of the subject, does 
not enable him to judge in the case. It appears certain that the 
stayed elastic compound, made as spring hinges are, might be 
nailed over the seams of the timbers of vessels, so as to stop 
leakage, oftentimes when they are started ; and it is highly 
probable that the caoutchouc board and whalebone recently in- 
vented will answer for sheathing, even if the other fabrics do not. 



This is among the uses that have been suggested for the vul- 
canized fibrous fabrics. The properties of the substance would 
seem exactly to adapt it to such a use, but whether it will 
answer, or if it should answer, whether it will not be too expen- 
sive, remains to be proved. 


This article is made of gum-elastic felt, and is manufactured 

Engine packing of heated or vulcanized gum-elastic felt, 
is now becoming so well known, and so generally introduced, 
both in the United States and England, that to treat of its 
utility would be superfluous. 


Dry goods or other boxes for the transportation of merchan- 
dise, may be packed and rendered tight by a cord of gum-elastic 
sponge, drawn into the edges of the article to be made tight, as 
specified of water-proof boxes and trunks, page , and of im- 
proved sash, page 



The impossibility of making doors and windows at all times 
quite air and water tight, arises from the swelling and shrinking 
of the wood, by the alternate changes of the atmosphere, and 
attempts to make them quite tight often causes a worse diffi- 
culty, that of preventing their opening and shutting. It is be- 
lieved that the plan here proposed will completely overcome 
these obstacles, as relates to doors. Doors may be made one- 
half to three-quarters of an inch smaller than the door casing, 
and a round cord of gum-elastic sponge being inserted in a 
groove in the door casing, and also in the edge of the door ; 
the two cords together projecting somewhat more than the 
space between the door and the casing, will make the door tight, 
and allow it to open and shut, notwithstanding the variations of 
the weather. 


Window frames may be packed by grooving the frame, and 
fitting into the groove a cord of gum-elastic sponge. If fitted 
into the bottom of the sash also, this arrangement will not only 
make windows tight, and keep out driving storms, but also guard 
persons against injury by the falling of windows. For further 
explanation of this use of gum-elastic for this purpose, see Im- 
proved Window Fixtures, Chapter 



Self-acting valve tube. Pump valves. Chain pump valves. Faucet stops. Engine and bellows 
valves. Bag clasp. Bag vise stop. Bag slide fastening. Corks. Phial and bottle corks. Ex- 
pansive cork. Soda fount corks. Jar corks. Demijohn corks. Inflating corks. Improved 
screw stopper. Improved valve stopper. 

The unalterable properties of heated or vulcanized gum- 
elastic, as relates to heat and cold, and the numerous grades of 
texture and solidity of the substances, between that of the softest 
sponge and the hard vulcanized compound, would seem to render 
it certain that some of them are admirably adapted for such 
articles, and in particular those that are used under water, or in 

The first use the writer ever made of gum-elastic, was of the 
common article, for an improvement in faucets, in 1832. At 
that time the goods did not answer the purpose. It remained 
for a professional gentleman* to make a completely successful 
application of vulcanized gum-elastic to this use. 

Some of the articles under this head have been fully tested, 
and found to be useful ; others are under experiment, or being 
tested, with every prospect of success. 

* Doct. Charles Steam, Springfield, Mass. 



Although this may appear to be a very trivial article, it is 
very important to the perfection of air-work, and globes in par- 
ticular. The impracticability of joining gum-elastic to metal, 
so that it will be secure, is well known, and by the use of metal 
tubes great injury has been done to the credit of this kind of 
work, the articles having generally leaked where they are con- 
nected with the tubes. This defect is completely obviated in 
the gum-elastic tubes, inasmuch as they become part and parcel 
of the air- work to which it is united. The head or part of the 
tube that projects from the life-preserver, cushion, or other 
article to which it is attached, is made of caoutchouc whale- 
bone. The lip valve, or end of the tube that is inserted within 
the article, is made of gum-elastic compound or drapery, or 
other light gum-elastic material. This lip becomes tight by the 
internal atmospheric pressure, and when the article is inflated, 
the greater the pressure the tighter it becomes. 

The weight, as well as the expense of the metal tubes, is 
another objection to their use for all small articles, and particu- 
larly for such as globes, fancy, parlor, and bat balls. 

In the use of the gum-elastic tube, it becomes necessary to 
open the valve by means of some instrument ; it may be done 
with a pin, broom splint, or tooth pick, but the most convenient 
article for this purpose is a small light tube of vulcanized gum- 
elastic compound, or stiffened paper, which may be looped to 
the article in the manner represented in the plate , fig. 
The writer has adopted another method in some cases, which is 
more expeditious for letting the air escape, by inserting another 
tube without any valve on the opposite side of the ball, with a 
gum-elastic cork attached for stopping. 

• The idea of a tube of this sort was first suggested to the writer in 1S3S by Mr. E. M. Chaffee, 
but was only made practicable by the use of the improved fabrics. 





The water-proof quality of the caoutchouc compounds and 
sponge renders them suitable materials for the above purpose. 
An application has been made of a valve similar to the self- 
acting valve-tube before described, and patented by another.* 
This valve is intended for ships' pumps, and is said not to be 
liable to be choked, like other valves. It is made of gum- 
elastic compound, see plate , fig. . 


A very simple and useful chain pump, represented by fig. , 
plate , is being extensively mtroduced in the United States. 
It is suggested by the writer, that gum-elastic sponge stops upon 
covered cordage, would be far cheaper and better for this pur- 
pose than the iron chain, and iron valves or stops that are now 


There are numerous ways of applying the caoutchouc fabrics 
for the improvement of faucets. Among these inventions may 
be noticed the one first made,f represented by fig. , plate 
In this the stop of elastic compound is ingeniously applied in the 
form of a cone. Another, J as represented by fig. , where the 
fluid passes through an elastic hose, and is stopped either by a 

* Dr. E. Pratt, New York. 

t Invented by Dr. Charles Stearns, Springfield, Mass. 

t Invented by 



screw or spring lever. Another tap and faucet of the common 
pattern, fig. , instead of being made of wood, is made of 
caoutchouc whalebone, the tap being packed with elastic com- 


Several of the fabrics are, on account of their air-tight and 
pliable properties, suitable materials for the valves of steam and 
other engines, and also for the valves of house, organ, and 
smith's bellows. 



This article, as represented by fig. , plate , is made either 
of malleable or wrought iron, in the form of bag clasps hereto- 
fore in common use. They are plated with caoutchouc whale- 
bone, with a cushion of elastic compound or sponge fabric on 
the inside. When shut, the jaws are compressed and secured 
by hinge catches, which, in connection with the cushion, causes 
the bag to be quite water- and air-tight. 


This stop is made of two straight pieces of wrought or malleable 
iron mouldings, fluted or grooved in a dove-tailed fashion, so as 
to hold the cushions of gum-elastic sponge with which they are 
fitted. They are cemented to the bag in such a way as to 
allow it to open freely, as represented in the plate , fig.. 
When shut, the jaws are fastened by hinge catches, in the same 
manner as the clasp above described, which also renders the 
bag completely water and air-tight. 


This slide or fastening for bags is a caoutchouc whalebone 
tube, made in the form of a tube, with a slit on one side 
running the length of the tube, as represented plate , fig. . 
It is slipped endwise over the mouth of the bag, which is made 
with a cord or projection upon each side of the mouth of the 

• The idea of this kind of stop was first suggested by Mr. Nathaniel Hay ward. 


bag, SO as to prevent the slide from coming off, and it is locked 
on by a padlock at the end. 

This stop does not make the bag so completely water and air 
proof as the two kinds of stops before described, but it is more 
cheaply manufactured, and renders bags sufficiently tight to 
answer as life-preservers, when filled with apparel, and it is ex- 
ceedingly convenient to slip off and on in use. 


As there is something in the manufacture or use of the differ- 
ent sorts peculiar to each, they are separately described as 
follows : 


The cheaper kinds of these are made plain like common 
corks. Like other gum-elastic corks, they are made of sponge 
in moulds, like hollow-ware. They are sometimes made with a 
rim, as in the plate , fig. , to prevent the cork being driven 
into the bottle. A somewhat more expensive, but more com- 
plete article, is made with a metal eye, and also with a metal 
plate and eye, as represented in the diagram, fig. 2 and 3. 
They may not only be drawn by the eye, with a fork or nail, 
but may be safely connected with the phial or bottle by a gum- 
elastic cord looped to the eye at one end, and the phial or bottle 
at the other, see plate , fig. . When it is considered that 
one of these corks will ordinarily last much longer than the vessel 

* The English house of Mcintosh & Co. were the first to manufacture India rubber corks, which 
were made by them of rope or felt, covered with native gum-elastic, as early as the year 
These have been used to considerable extent, but they have been found defective for general pur- 
poses, from the defects of the native gum. 


to which they are attached, corks of this kind may be considered 
cheap and economical, although their first cost is more than 
other corks ; and certainly so if they preserve the contents of the 
bottle in cases where they would otherwise be lost by the use of 
defective corks. In a cheap bottle, these corks may be said to 
answer all the purposes of an expensive bottle and ground 

The query is here proposed, whether it is more economical in 
the corking even of cheap liquids, beer, soda, cider, &c., to use 
in the course of a season one hundred cheap corks for one bottle, 
or one good cork attached to the bottle one hundred times. 

The deterioration of liquors and other articles from defective 
corks, is a thing of constant occurrence, in particular after the 
cork has been once drawn by a cork-screw. It is confidently 
expected that gum-elastic will prove an effective remedy for 
this evil. 


This cork is made of gum-elastic compound, with a screw of 
metal or caoutchouc whalebone passing through it. Turning 
the screw compresses and enlarges the cork, and makes it fast ; 
reversing the screw allows it to be drawn : see plate , fig . 
This cork is the invention of another. 


These are made in general like phial corks before described, 
with the exception of a hole passing them, for the purpose of 
allowing them to be screwed to the fountain fixtures. 

They are found to answer the purpose for which they are in- 
tended completely, and their extra cost is of little account, con- 
sidering their durability and convenience. 



The foregoing descz'iption may be applied also, in general, to 
jar corks, except that it may be found economical to manufac- 
ture them, and also some of the larger kinds of those already 
described, by filling the interior of the cork with light v/ood, 
refuse cork wood, or other light substances. 

Common jar corks being so much larger, ai'e usually more de- 
fective, and for them there is the more need of improvement in 
the article. 


It has been the practice of manufacturers of acid to use clay 
stoppers for demijohns of acid, which answer a tolerable purpose 
until the clay is once loosened, after which the druggist and the 
consumer have no safe and convenient method of corking up the 
acid, except by resorting to expensive bottles with ground stop- 
pers. It may be expected that these corks will remedy this 


This is a cork made with tone of the self-acting valve tubes 
connected with it, so that the gum-elastic bottles and tanks may 
be inflated without difficulty, and used as life-preservers ; and 
also that liquids may be drank or drawn from them without taking 
out the cork or bung. This is done by means of a pipe of vulcan- 
ized gum-elastic, or any other suitable material, which may be 
looped to the cork or bung. It has been found somewhat difH- 



cult to handle flexible gum-elastic bottles or tanks, when the 
corks or stoppers were out, without spilling the liquids. The 
design of these corks is to obviate this objection, and also to 
make them answer as life-preservers for fishermen, sportsmen, 
and sailors. See plate , fig. '. 


The objections to the use of metal screw stoppers for bottles are 
chiefly their expensiveness, the difficulty of making them tight, 
and the danger of losing them. It is proposed to obviate these 
difficulties in the article here described, made of caoutchouc 
whalebone, as follows : A swivel, with a ring attached to it, is 
inserted in the top of the cap of the stopper, by which the cap 
may be attached to the bottle, or the strap of the bottle. 

A washer, of gum-elastic packing, is inserted inside in the top 
of the cap, which serves to stop the bottle perfectly tight, and, 
therefore, prevents any escape of the contents of the bottle, 
either through the screw or through the opening made by the 
swivel. When attached to India rubber bottles, or to glass bot- 
tles covered with India rubber, the female screw of the stopper 
is cemented into, and forms a part of, the bottle. See plate , 
fig. . 


This is the invention of another.* It is formed of two caout- 
chouc tubes, one within the other ; the outer tube is composed 
of caoutchouc whalebone, the inner tube or hose of elastic com- 
pound, which is attached to the outer tube at the bottom only ; 
the ring of the hose being firm at the top serves as a stop. When 
the flexible tube is straight with the inflexible one, the stopper 
is free for the escape of air or liquids ; but when the flexible 
tube is twisted, their escape is prevented by the tube being 
closed, and it is kept so by being held in its place by the ring at 
the end of the tube. See plate , fig. . 

^ * Nelson Goodyear, brother of the writer. 

fe^ . _ . _ —r^M 



Car springs. Carriage and coach springs. Buffers. Cart and truck springs. Wagon seat ana 
rail chair springs. Whale springs. Door springs. Improved door springs. Lock springs. 
Gun lock springs. Stirrup springs. Umbrella springs. Elastic bands. Elastic ties. Improved 
hose ties. Girth springs. Hinge springs, or spring hinges. Elastic tape. Glove springs. Shoe 
springs. Improved shoe springs. Vest springs. Corset and stay springs. Truss and belt 
springs. Hat and cap springs. 

A GREAT variety of springs are made from gum-elastic, 
many of which it is difficult to make from steel, or any other 
substance ; and if made, it might be impossible to apply them to 
some purposes to which the gum-elastic spring is applied without 

Applications of this material for springs are constantly in- 
creasing, but the public are so well acquainted with the elastic 
property of India rubber, that only a brief notice need be given 
of those springs that are most extensively used. 


Car springs, consisting of alternate discs of India rubber and 
metal, like those represented in plate xvii., fig. 1, are the inven- 
tion of another individual* who many years ago made experi- 
ments with the native gum for this purpose, which were unsuc- 
cessful. The successful manufacture of car springs of heated 
or vulcanized gum-elastic, was commenced in America by 
Mr. Ray soon after that time, and the extent to which it has 

* Mr. Fowler M. Ray, New York. 



been carried in so short a period is remarkable. As near as can 
be ascertained, there has been an average of one thousand 
pounds of gum per day manufactured into this kind of car springs, 
during the year 1849. 

A subsequent improvement has been made in car springs by 
Mr. Ray, by making the spring of one block of gum, and hooping 
it with iron rings, instead of using alternate discs of India rubber 
and metal. 

These springs act by the elasticity of the gum by compres- 
sion. It is applied in the manner represented in plate xvii., 
fig. 2. To speak of the importance of an article so generally 
used upon railroads, is needless. 

A diagram is given, fig. 3, of a car spring, which, it is thought, 
may be an improvement in the construction of car springs, on 
account of the greater lateral motion obtained by it.* Several 
kinds of air springs have also been invented by different in- 
dividuals, made of vulcanized gum-elastic, one of which is rep- 
resented by figs. 4 and 5, plate xvii. ;f another, which is repre- 
sented by figs. 6 and 7. J 


There is more difficulty in applying this substance to coaches 
and carriages for common roads, so as to preserve a good ap- 
pearance of the vehicle, on account of the lateral motion that is 
necessary to be had, than there is in applying it to cars. They 
have been applied very successfully, so as to ease off the strain 
from elliptic springs, which may be made light and weak for the 
purpose, when arranged in the manner represented in the dia- 
gram, plate xvii., fig. 8. 

* Invented by Mr. E. M. Chaffee, of New Haven, 
t Invented by Mr. John Lewis, of New Haven. 
t Invented by Mr. of New Haven. 





These are blocks or springs of gum-elastic, placed between 
and in front of the cars, (instead of underneath them,) to prevent 
their jarring by concussion. They are an English invention, 
and not so generally introduced in America as the car springs, 
see plate xvii., fig. 9. 


These are made in the same manner as the car springs 
described, and are placed underneath various kinds of carts and 
trucks to be used on common roads. They are placed under- 
neath the body and over the axle of the cart or truck, much in 
the same way as they are underneath cars. See plate , fig. 


These are blocks of gum-elastic sponge, which are placed 
under the feet of the chairs of railway cars, wagon seats, and the 
seats of other vehicles. In this manner the seats of all vehicles 
without springs, may be rendered easy and comfortable, at a very 
trifling expense. 


These are made of elastic cordage, and of one or more gum- 
elastic ropes, of any size required, with a shackle attached at each 
end, by which they are to be connected with the cable. The 
use of the spring is to ease off the strain upon the cable, by 
which the whale is secured from breaking loose from the ship in 


rough weather, while taking the blubber on board the vessel. 
This invention was suggested by an experienced whaleman ; 
and, although as yet untried, it is more than probable that it is 
an important use of elastic cordage. See plate , fig. 


Door springs are made of knit goods or elastic compound, 
in the form of an endless belt, about twelve inches in length, 
one inch in breadth, and one-eighth of an inch in thickness. 
They are attached to the door on either side, with the different 
fastenings, as represented in plate ii., by fig. 5, for the inside, 
and fig. 6, for the outside of the door. 

The elastic ties or letter bands, are sometimes used in the 
same way for cupboard, bookcase, and other doors. The 
stayed compound, described on page , made for this purpose, 
may be used with still greater economy when nailed to gates, or 
on the doors of out-houses. They answer an excellent purpose 
at a small expense when properly made. 


Instead of the endless belt above described, a spring may be 
made cheaper and more durable, of a single strip of gum, about 
one-fourth of an inch thick, and from one to two inches in width, 
stayed at each end with a small hose, in the manner described 
on page . They are attached to the door by inserting the 
fixtures through the hose, see plate , fig. 


Elastic compound lock springs are the invention of another,* 
the patentee for the application of vulcanized gum-elastic to car 

* Mr. F. M. Ray. 


springs. Specimens of door locks have been made by him, as 
represented in plate xvi., fig. . The springs are simply- 
small blocks of gum-elastic compound, which act by the elasticity 
of the gum by compression against the bolt of the lock or latch. 
It is believed that lock springs of this kind will be preferable 
to steel, on the score of economy and durability, not being liable 
to rust or to get out of repair. 


The use of vulcanized gum-elastic compound for gun lock 
springs was also the suggestion of another,* and there is good 
reason to suppose that it will be found useful for that purpose, 
as it is for car and other springs. 


This article is manufactured by inserting a piece of the stayed 
compound fabric into the stirrup leather, near the stirrup. The 
spring should be of the same width as the stirrup leather, one- 
quarter of an inch in thickness, and from one to two inches in 
length to suit the customer. 

The stirrup leather may be either of animal or vegetable 

The horseman will find this an improvement tending to his 
comfort. See plate , fig. 

• Mr. John Greacen, Jr., New York. 




This is one of the uses to which braided cord of native gum, 
had been applied for some years in Europe, previous to the man- 
ufacture of vulcanized gum-elastic in America. It is a con- 
venient and useful article, like the glove spring, whether made 
of the native gum or vulcanized gum-elastic. 


These bands are either endless belts, or rings of elastic com- 
pound. They are used for various purposes, for files of papers, 
for covering with ribbons for ladies' elastics, and for elastic 
garters without covering, for securing small packages, and also 
the covers upon small boxes, and for memorandum and pocket- 
book fastenings. 

In many other cases, for the temporary binding and tying of 
articles, they are found very convenient. See plate , figs. 


These bands or ties are manufactured from sheets of gum-elas- 
tic drapery or compound, which is first made into tubing of a suit- 
able size, and then cut up into rings, or endless ties, by machinery. 
They are found very useful and convenient for druggists and 
tradesmen, for tying up small packages of every description. 
When receptacles are kept by house and shopkeepers for the 
preservation of these ties, they will not be found very expensive, 
taking into account the saving of time in tying and untying. 
Besides, the price will become reduced, by improvements and 
facilities in the manufacture, as well as by a larger demand. The 


writer is of opinion that when better known these ties will be 
considered an indispensable convenience for house and shop- 
keepers, even if they are not quite so cheap as common pack- 
thread. These remarks are not applicable to their use for heavy- 
packages, as they would not only be too expensive, but too 
elastic for such a purpose. 


When the tubing of which the ties, above described, are man- 
ufactured, is made with a stay of cloth about half an inch wide, 
running its whole length ; if, instead of being cut up by the 
machinery into fine thread, it is cut into rings or bands from 
one-fourth to three-fourths of an inch in width, elastics and 
endless springs will thereby be formed with stays, by which 
stays they may be stitched on to pocket-books, or buttoned or 
stitched on to hose, or any other article, from which, when 
attached, the ties need not be removed, except to wash the 
articles. See plate , fig. . 


These are made of perforated stayed compound, of different 
widths, to be inserted in girths, surcingles, &c. for the purpose of 
giving them elasticity. See plate , fig. . 


Are made of elastic stayed compound. Their use, and the 
method of their application, may be understood by reference to 
the description of air and water-proof trunks and boxes, described, 
Chapter , page 



This is cut from sheets of elastic compound, from one-quarter 
to one-half of an inch in width. Among other uses for it, is that 
of tying ladies' hair without danger of cutting it, for which pur- 
pose it is much valued by those who have used it. 


See Appendages of Wearing Apparel, Chapter XVIII. 


See Appendages of Wearing Apparel, Chapter XVIII. 


See Appendages of Wearing Apparel, Chapter XVIII. 


See Appendages of Wearing Apparel, Chapter XVIII. 


See Appendages of Wearing Apparel, Chapter XVIII. 


See Appendages of Wearing Apparel, Chapter XVIII. 


See Appendages of Wearing Apparel, Chapter XVIII. 



Engine hose. Hydraulic presses. Force pumps. Water wheels. Suction hose. Improved spiral 
hose. Connecting hose. Hydrant hose. Faucets. Reservoirs. Filters. 

Some articles which come under this head were made, to a 
limited extent, at an early day. Hose of some kinds was found 
useful made of native gum. Hydrostatic beds were also made 
by spreading India rubber cloths over boxes of water, bottles 
were also among the first articles manufactured to considerable 
extent by the Roxbury Company. 


This is an article which has been made, to some extent, of 
coated canvas, but which has yet been found to answer but in- 
differently, chiefly on account of the gum peeling from the 
cloth. It is expected that gum-elastic felt, and the fibrous 
fabrics, will be found to remove the objections that now exist. 
Engine suction hose, which is made upon wire wound spirally, 
can unquestionally be made to advantage of these fabrics. 



Gum-elastic compound felt and vegetable leather, are now 
being successfully applied for hydraulic rams, presses, &c., as 
a substitute for animal leather. Those who are acquainted with 
the properties of these fabrics, will not require for them any 
recommendation for such uses. 


The plan ol this article, answering to the diagram in plate , 
fig. , to be made of caoutchouc, was given by another.* 
This pump has not yet been applied to use, but it is obvious 
that the great objection which exists in all mechanism, and 
particularly in pumps, that of friction, is, in this case, almost 
entirely removed, and in other respects it would appear that 
this fabric must answer a good purpose for force pumps. 


These are made on the same plan as elevators before 
described. They have not yet been practically applied to use, 
but certain inferences may be drawn with regard to their utility, 
from what is known from the use of the iron chain wheel, which 
is operated on the same principle ; they may be built at so 
great a reduction of cost, in comparison with other wheels, 
that the invention appears to the writer to be an important one, 
especially when it is considered that the size of all other wheels 
is limited, and that these may be built of any height, to that of a 
hundred feet or more; consequently, a large power might be 

* Mr. Edwin M. Chaffee, Rozbury, Mass. 


obtained from a small rivulet, and, in situations and places 
where it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to build 
wooden water wheels. 


Hose for different purposes, is made by covering wire wound 
spirally with gum-elastic. By this method of manufacturing 
hose, an article is obtained which is flexible to be coiled, and is 
not liable to collapse. On that account, this is a description of 
hose which answers in some cases where metal and leather 
hose will not. 


Specimens of hose have recently been made of hemp cord, 
covered with vellum and wound spirally, which recommends 
itself on account of superior strength. It is lined inside with 
canvas to prevent its tearing longitudinally, and is not liable to 
be cut, and when damaged may be mended by riveting, like 
leather hose. 


This is made of sheets of gum-elastic compound, and has 
been found exceedingly useful for joints, in connecting various 
sorts of tubes of other materials, used for chemical and other 



Hydrant hose is made either of gum-eJastic felt, coated can- 
vas, or vegetable leather, and is already becoming extensively 
used in the United States. The substance being so admirably 
adapted to this use, it was at first manufactured more exten- 
sively than other articles, and from being improperly made of 
coated cloths, the credit of the article was impaired by the gum 
peeling from the cloth ; but recently the article is highly ap- 


Faucet valves and stops have been described in Chapter VII., 
besides which faucets of various kinds, and especially taps and 
faucets which have heretofore been made of wood, may now be 
made wholly of vulcanized gum-elastic materials. 


Cisterns and tanks may, for many purposes, with economy be 
lined with gum-elastic, but the reservoir or tank here alluded to, 
is made of gum-elastic fabrics, so manufactured that it will be 
elastic, and not burst when water freezes in it. These tanks, or 
sacks, are designed to be placed under the roof in the attics of 
dwelling-houses, with hose connecting with the water spout, and 



Other hose extending downward to the different apartments of 
the building. The convenience of this arrangement for the 
supply of rain-water in the rooms, and also for extinguishing 
fire, must be apparent. See plate , fig. . 


Perforated caoutchouc ivory and whalebone are suitable 
materials for the strainers of filters, or the filters may be made 
wholly of these materials instead of metal. Fig. , plate , 
represent a filter of this kind attached to a flexible water reser- 
voir of gum-elastic. 




Musket covers. Wagon floats. Ambulanche. Powder bags. Provision bags. Pistol holsters. 
Port-fire cases. Cannon covers. Sword sheaths. Cartridge boxes. Camp blankets. Cannon 
sponge covers. Sword and pistol covers. Military belts. Canteens. Water tanks. Military 
caps. Blasting cartridges. Budge barrels. Tents and tent carpets. Bandages. Military stocks. 
Haversacks. Knapsacks. Miners' knapsacks. Gun and pistol stocks. Air pontoons and 
pontoon boats. Air pontoons. Pontoon air boats. Air balsor. Air pontoon rafts. 

In the early stages of this manufacture, and during the Mex- 
ican war, an assortment of articles were made for the gov- 
ernment of the United States. They were made to order in 
great haste, before the best gum-elastic fabrics for such pur- 
poses were invented, and they were manufactured chiefly from 
the coated cloths, which were not found to answer the purposes 
of leather, as the fibrous fabrics have done since that time. It is 
not surprising, therefore, that mistakes should have been made 
in the first attempts to introduce some articles for the use of the 
army and navy. Nor is it surprising that some articles that are 
now known to be useful, should then have been imperfectly 
manufactured, and consequently have failed at that time to 
answer the expectations which were formed of them. Many of 
the articles were highly approved by the troops and officers in 
the servi'ce ; among which may be noticed camp blankets, tent 
carpets, canteens and water tanks, and provision and powder 

In consequence of the introduction of the hard compounds 
and other new fabrics, a new field is now opened for the manu- 
facture of various military articles that have not been heretofore 
attempted. Owing, also, to the invention of vulcanizing in 
moulds, many of these articles that have formerly been made of 
sole or harness leather, may now be made by this process, and they 


are a class of articles for which no objection can be raised to 
the use of gum-elastic. Among these are pistol holsters, sword 
sheaths, cartridge boxes, &c. some of which are hereafter 


Musket covers are manufactured of the plated gum-elastic 
fabrics, and are secured in the usual way by buckle and strap, or 
by tying, see plate xii., fig. 1. When fastened by the whalebone 
slide, as represented by fig. 2, and inflated by the self-acting 
valve tube, they are not only sufficiently buoyant to float the 
gun or rifle, but will also answer in a good degree as a life-pre- 
server to the sportsman or soldier, in crossing a river. This 
article, when used together with the canteen, made with the 
valve, as represented plate , fig. , is quite sufficient to buoy 
up a man in the water. 


These are the invention of an officer* of the United States' 

The India rubber cylinders are used in pairs with apparatus, 
represented in plate , by which loaded wagons are easily 
floated across rivers. 

The cylinders may also be used for rafts, and for making 
floating bridges, when placed at suitable distances from each 
other, and anchored. 

A complete set of these have been furnished to the United 
States government, for the army. 

For a more particular description of the use of these floats, 
the reader is referred to Col. Stanton's Specification of Patent, 
United States' Patent Office. See plate , fig. . 

* Col. Henry Staunton. 



This is an invention for the purpose of transporting the sick. 
It consists of a matress or sacking of perforated elastic com- 
pound, or of ventilated quilted fabric, as represented, plate , 
fig. . It is arranged so as to be supported by elastic springs, 
and may be suspended by different methods, on wood or metal 
frame- work, or laid upon the ground to suit the convenience or 
comfort of the patient. As yet, the writer has had no opportu- 
nity of testing the utility of this article ; he, however, submits it as 
worthy the attention of military men. "The use of gum-elastic 
for this purpose was first suggested by an officer of the United 
States' arrny." 


These are made of coated canvas, plated and corded fabrics, 
or vegetable leather, and are used in the army and navy instead of 
barrels, for containing powder. When the mouths of these bags 
are secured by the metal fastening, as represented in plate xii., 
fig. 3, powder will remain dry in them although kept under 


These are made of corded and barred fabrics, or plated can- 
vas, with eyelets to lace, and also with an apron, or extra mouth- 
piece, as represented in plate , figs. 1 and 2, which falls inside 
when laced, or is drawn out and tied when it is designed to 
make the mouth water-tight, or to cause the bag to hold an 
extra quantity. These bags are useful not only for provisions, 
but for other merchandise and for papers, to protect them from 


loss or damage by water. When the mouth is tied quite tight, 
these bags may be left in the open field, and even under water, 
with safety. They were extensively used and approved by the 
troops of the United States government during the Mexican 


Pistol holsters are manufactured of caoutchouc whalebone 
combined with vegetable leather. See plate , fig. . The 
advantages claimed for this article over leather are cheapness, 
keeping their shape under all circumstances, together with their 
water-proof qualities. 


Port-fire cases are manufactured of caoutchouc whalebone or 
whalebone board. See plate , fig. . 


These are made of plated, corded, and barred fabrics, and 
are designed to be used instead of pent-houses, to protect guns 
when mounted, and their carriages, from the effects of the sun 
and weather. 


Sword, bayonet, and knife sheaths are made either of caout- 
chouc whalebone or whalebone board. Their great superiority 
over leather consists in their cheapness, durability, and in not 
being so liable to get broken by being bent as leather. See 
plate xii., fig. . 



Caoutchouc whalebone and felt are suitable substances from 
which to manufacture cartridge boxes, of different kinds, using 
the felt for the belts and other flexible parts, and the whalebone 
for the parts that have commonly been made of wood or metal. 


These are made of napped plated cloths, felt, or corded and 
napped vellum. They may be recommended as an invaluable 
article for the soldier, or others who are obliged to sleep on the 
ground, or are in any way exposed to storms. 


These are made of plated cloth or corded vellum, and are used 
as a coyer for sponges that are used in cleaning cannon. 


Are made of plated fabrics, and are either fastened by buckle 
and strap, as represented, plate xii., fig. 6 ; or they are made 
water- and air-tight by means of the clasp, as represented by fig. 
7 ; by which means, as in the case of the musket covers before 
described, they are made water and air tight, and the atmosphere 
is excluded from the arms, so that they are prevented from 




A variety of military belts are made of gum-elastic felt and 
vegetable leather, manufactured after the manner described for 
other belts and straps, Chapter 


These are made of plated cloth, corded vellum, or vegetable 
leather, of various patterns and sizes. The crescent shape, 
represented in plate , fig. , is considered best for the 
sportsman or soldier, because it does not roll or shift about 
when suspended upon the person, like some other forms of this 

Canteens of various patterns are also made of caoutchouc 
v^halebone, but these are more properly described as flasks and 
bottles in another chapter. 


These are made of corded and barred vegetable leather, either 
single or double, in the manner represented by the drawing in 
plate , figs. . They are only a larger kind of water 

bottle, designed for the transportation of liquids of any kind, so 
trimmed that they may be conveniently handled, or transported 
on horseback like saddle bags. They were extensively used, 
and with entire satisfaction, by the United States' troops during 
the Mexican war. This method of transporting liquids is re- 
turning to primitive customs which still prevail in the East, 
except, that instead of skins, vegetable leather, which is far 
better, is used. 



May be manufactured in different ways, of any shape desired, 
of caoutchouc whalebone combined with other gum-elastic 

Those parts of the cap which are required, may be made soft, 
like cloth or felt ; and other parts hard, like leather ; while bands 
of steel or metal may be inserted in their manufacture over the 
top, to protect the crown from sabre cuts, as represented in 
plate , fig. ; or wire-work may be inserted in the crown in 
the manufacture of the article at small expense. With or with- 
out these appendages, two important objects are attained in these 
caps, lightness and strength, and it is believed that by this com- 
bination of the fabrics, the article so long desired by military 
men is obtained. 


Are made of elastic compound, with a tube of the same ma- 
terial of any desired length, for the purpose of blasting rocks 
under water, and for dry blasting, particularly where the bore 
is to be filled with wet substances. Those acquainted with 
blasting, and with the properties of this material, will readily 
perceive the advantages to be gained by cartridges like those 


See Chapter Naval and Maritime. 



See Chapter 


See Chapter 


Since the invention of the perforated fabrics, and the improve- 
ment of gum-elastic in relation to odor, among the other articles 
of ordinary wearing apparel to which gum-elastic is being suc- 
cessfully applied, perhaps no one is more appropriate than that 
of military stocks. They are, like gum-elastic over-shoes, 
formed upon lasts, upon which they are vulcanized, conse- 
quently they will afterwards retain their shape, will be cool and 
pleasant, and will be exceedingly durable. 


These are manufactured in two apartments, similar to gum- 
elastic fish-bags, one of which is made of the perforated, the 
other of the water-proof fabrics ; consequently, the articles in 
one of them will be protected from wet, and those kept in the 
other will have the advantage of a circulation of air. See plate 
fig. . 


Among the first military equipments made of gum-elastic, 
were knapsacks; they were found objectionable inconsequence 
of their too great warmth, offensive odor, and imperfect manu- 


facture. The first objection is removed by perforating different 
parts of the knapsack ; the second, by a change of ingredients 
in the compound ; and the last, by skill and experience in the 
manufacture. See plate , fig. . 


This knapsack is manufactured of gum-elastic plated cloth or 
vellum, upon the same general plan as the knapsacks before 
described, with the addition of apartments for the miner's tools. 


Caoutchouc enamel and ivory are admirably adapted, either 
alone or in combination with iron or wood, for pistol and 
gun stocks, and also for the handles of other military weapons 
generally. There is also an important economy in the 
manufacture of these substances for these purposes, because 
they are moulded into the different forms, either plain or orna- 
mental, with trifling labor without waste of material. 


India rubber pontons and ponton boats, by which is here 
meant all such as are made of India rubber fabrics filled with 
air only, were among the first things made of gum-elastic by 
different manufacturers. 

The attention of the United States and other governments 
was early drawn to them, as being inventions deserving of en- 
couragement. They were favorably noticed, and orders were 
given by the United States government for supplies, as then 
manufactured, of native gum. In the commencement of the 
manufacture of the vulcanized fabrics, orders were repeated for 
supplies of the vulcanized pontons ; but they have thus far failed 
to be as useful as was anticipated. 


The objections which apply to boats and pontons made of 
gum-elastic fabrics (uncombined with other materials, for stay- 
ing and stiffening them) and filled with air only, are the follow- 
ing, viz. : They require to be filled with a hand bellows, which is 
an inconvenient and laborious process. A very small leak will 
cause them to collapse and sink. These difficulties are over- 
come by combining the vulcanized fabrics with other materials, 
in the manner specified in this work for constructing self-inflating 
air- work. See Chapter , p. 

From these descriptions, and those given in the chapter on 
self-inflating pontons, the improvements here alluded to may be 
understood. A brief description is here given of a few of the 
many forms of pontons and boats which are filled with air only ; 
not for the purpose of recommending them, but for the purpose 
of giving an idea of the origin of articles of this description. 


The air ponton above alluded to as ordered by the United 
States, was made of coated canvas, in three compartments 
cemented together, as represented, plate , page , each 
compartment being inflated by a separate tube, forming together 
a raft or boat about six feet wide and eighteen feet in length. 


This boat is formed of a series of air-tubes or cylinders, each 
of which is inflated with a separate tube. This, together with 
the ponton above described, may be considered the best among 
the many kinds of air pontons and boats designed to be filled 
with air only. See plate , fig. . 



Fig. , plate , represents a balsor or single air cylinder, 
one of the earliest manufactures of the Roxbury Company. 
They were made of India rubber canvas, and inflated by a 
hand bellows. They were designed to be used as a life-spar or 
buoy, or to be fastened to boats to keep them from swamping. 
These, as well as the other articles in which air alone is relied 
upon for their buoyancy and safety, are unsafe and not to be 
depended upon compared with the self-inflating pontons and 
boats specified in Chapter XXX. They are here noticed be- 
cause they were the first of this kind of work, and because they 
are the cheapest made, and would answer a good purpose in the 
absence of better things. 


These may be constructed either of the air balsors or wagon 
float cylinders. For this purpose they are connected together 
in the same way as the self-inflating ponton rafts, more particu- 
larly specified. Chapter XXX. They are more cheaply made, 
but not so convenient or safe as the self-inflating ponton rafts. 
See plate , fig. . 



Ships' sails. Report of Captain Popham. Second report of Captain Popham. Ship lights. Tar- 
paulins. Ships' water tanks. Hammocks. Tompion. Signal balls. Camels, or vessels' 
lighters. Submarine armor. Ships' letter bags. Bread bags. Sailors' bags. 'Budge barrel. 
Fenders. Navy belts. Sheaths. South-westers. Tarpaulin hats. Deck scrubs. Gun recoil 
springs. Shot plug. Life buoy. Harbor buoy. Anchor buoy. Whale buoy. Anglers' floats. 
Becoys. Seine floats. Sheathing and caulking materials. Bathing tubs. Ships' buckets. 
Ships' ware and utensils. Seamens' wearing apparel. Improved hatch. Boats. Whale-boats, 
yawls, jolly-boats, and row-boats. Long-boats. Club-boats and race-boats. Life boats. Ballast 

It is not to be expected that one unacquainted with a sea-far- 
ing Ufe, should be able to enumei'ate, and much less to describe 
minutely, all the various articles that might be made for ships' 
use, or that might properly be classed under this head. Those 
who are acquainted with the subject, and the wants of seamen, 
will doubtless suggest many other uses, as well as improvements 
in the construction of those articles that are now made of the 
gum-elastic fabrics. 


The first gum-elastic ship's sail was a top-sail, which was made 
by the writer in 1844, and was intended for the packet ship 
Patrick Henry. After the sail was completed, it was thought 
that the coated canvas of which it was made was so very light, 
that it was imprudent to make trial of it. It was, therefore, stored 
at the warehouse in New York until 1845. At this time, the 
clerks at the warehouse, in a frolicksome mood, and not know- 
ing why the sail had not been tried, had it bent upon the 
Liverpool packet ship Stephen Whitney ; and, for a surprise to 


the writer on the day of sailing, gave him an invitation to go to 
sea under an India rubber sail. His first emotions were those 
of displeasure at the conduct of the clerks, but it was too late to 
unbend it, it fitted well, and it was with feelings mingled with 
regret, hope, and fear for the result of the first experiment of so 
important an application, that the writer saw the sail set, and, 
outside the bay, filled with a stiff breeze. 

This sail was made of a cloth very inferior to the light sail 
duck, and was banded in the same manner as that represented 
by the plate . The performance of this sail, considering the 
quality of the canvas of which it was made, as appears from 
Capt. Popham's reports, was matter of surprise. 

Notwithstanding the favorable nature of these reports, the 
writer was aware that these sails were heavier than would be 
desirable, as the goods were then made. Since that time the 
improvement in this respect is such, that the article now appears 
to be quite unobjectionable. 

The sail was taken off" before the loss of the Stephen Whitney, 
and sent to Washington for inspection. 

The question will naturally arise, why an improvement of so 
much importance should so long remain without further notice ? 
It may be answered that the best things often remain unnoticed 
from the fact, that circumstances exist adverse to their introduc- 
tion ; and it sometimes happens that the advantages promised 
by particular things are so great, as in themselves to stagger 
belief, and excite incredulity. Such would appear to be the 
case in reference to the use of this substance for ships' sails, 
and this application has undoubtedly been delayed chiefly on 
that account. 

It was not, however, wholly unnoticed as has been generally 
supposed. Orders were given by the government for several 
suits of these sails, through Col. Staunton, who superintended the 
equipment of vessels for the Mexican se^rvice. The principal 
reasons why the orders were not executed, were these : Orders 



for quantities of smaller articles, the manufacture of which was 
more lucrative to the licensees, were being executed at the time 
for the government. The manufacture was not then sufficiently 
advanced as to the extent of the heating or vulcanizing ap- 
paratus, for the manufacture of sails. The substituting of the 
fibrous cotton fabrics for this use instead of duck, will not only 
lessen the expense so as to make the sails cheaper, but when 
corded and barred, will also make them stronger than duck. 

Their being made white will give them almost exactly the 
appearance of other sails. Owing to the advancement of the 
manufacture; the article has been greatly improved since the 
sail for the Stephen Whitney was made, being manufactured 
much lighter, and more complete in many respects. It is certain 
that there can be no loss of power by the escape of wind 
through these sails, consequently, the spread of canvas required 
will be much less ; and vessels with these sails will be less 
difficult to manage, and much more safe. Increased strength 
may be gained by cording the sail with large twine, and by 
making the bars of linen web. In this way an almost impas- 
sible barrier is presented to the tearing of the sail beyond each 
bar; whereas, a sail of duck, when it begins to tear is often rent 
the whole length or breadth. 

The comparative durability of the two kinds of sails is too ob- 
vious to be discussed ; but the superiority of the gum-elastic 
sail, not being liable to mildew and decay like canvas, may be 

The peculiar property of these sails, and one upon which 
emphasis may be placed in desci'ibing it, is pliability. They 
will not stiffen and freeze, as will be seen in the report of Capt. 
Popham ; and any one may easily ascertain by trial, that ice will 
not adhere to gum-elastic fabrics. This being the case, the 
danger is less, and much labor and hardship in working them is 

This is perhaps the most extensive and important of all the 
applications of gum-elastic, is one of national interest, and the 
subject is worthy of an abler pen. The writer would here 



appeal to all whom it concerns, not to leave unheeded that 
which so deeply affects the interests of mankind. 

Plate xi., fig. 1, represents sails that are made of barred coated 
canvas, such as was tried upon the Stephen Whitney. Plate 
xi., fig. 2, represents sails made of the corded and barred cotton 
fibrous fabrics, with which experiments are now being made for 
sails, which it is believed will answer better than duck, on the 
score of both cost and quality. 


New York, Januarij ^Ih, 1846. 
Mr. Charles Goodyear. 

Dear Sir, 

It gives me pleasure to say, in reply to your letter, I can state 
decisively that your metallic India rubber canvas is a superior 
article for ships' sails, and especially for heavy and storm sails. 

The topsail in question was put on the packet ship Stephen 
Whitney, in May, 1845, since which time it has been constantly 
and severely tried during three passages across the Atlantic, 
both winter and summer. Among its manj^ good qualities, that 
of its remaining pliable and clear of ice when other sails are 
frozen and stiff, is deserving of special notice 

I shall be able to speak further of its durability, if it ever 
wears out. That a canvas so inferior as this was, before it was 
covered with your gum-elastic, should endure service as this 
has, is to me a matter of surprise. 

Charles W. Popham, 

Of Ship Stephen Whitney, 



New York, May 9th, 1846. 
Charles Goodyear, Esa., 
New Haven. 

Dear Sir, 

With much pleasure I again reply to your inquiries respecting 
the patent India rubber sail. It has now been with me six suc- 
cessive trips across the Atlantic, and I can assure you has 
received no favor. It appears to me to possess great durability, 
is easily handled in wet or frosty weather, not being stiffened 
in the least degree by either the one or the other, and is also 
not liable to mildew. 

I consider your invention valuable to all engaged in ocean 

I am, dear Sir, 

Yours truly, 

Charles W. Popham, 

of Ship Stephen Whitney, 

The sail was taken off before the loss of the Stephen Whitney, 
and sent to Washington for inspection, when the orders for sails 
for government vessels before alluded to, were given by Col. 

ship lights. 

The use of gum-elastic for ship lights is the invention of 
another,* for which he obtained letters patent. The improve- 
ment in this article consists in placing a cushion, or packing of 
gum-elastic, around the metal sash upon which the lid or cover 
of the light shuts, for the purpose of keeping out the water in 
rough weather, the importance of which will be readily per- 
ceived. The construction of these lights may be better under- 
stood by reference to plate , fig. 

. * Mr. Enoch Hidden, New York. 

— ' ~~~~~~ ~~ ®^© 



These are made in the form of hatch covers, hammock covers, 
and other articles, of corded and barred vellum, and the plated 

For this use, as well as all others, when the fabrics are con- 
stantly exposed to the action of the sun and weather, a large 
proportion of carbon or lampblack is required to be compounded 
with the gum. 

At the time of the first manufacture of the vulcanized fabrics 
for such purposes as the above, this fact was not known, and the 
articles did not prove as good as was expected ; but it has since 
been proved beyond a question, that with the addition of carbon, 
this objection is removed. The fabrics are yet further improved 
in this particular, by giving them a surface coat of caoutchouc, 
compounded with shellac. 


Are made of corded and barred plated fabrics, in the form 
of a barrel, with or without a hose and stop-cock attached, as 
represented in plate , fig. . 

It is satisfactorily proved by long trial, that water may be kept 
in these vessels a great length of time without injury. Another 
great advantage they have is that of compact storage, and of 
more convenient transportation than barrels, or other wooden 
or earthen vessels, for taking water on board from the shore by 
boats. It is apparent that these tanks may be made of any 
dimensions for containing water on shipboard, and that their 
buoyancy when filled with air instead of water, might be made 
available on many occasions in forming life boats or rafts. 



Hammocks are manufactured of the perforated and quilted 
fabrics, described Vol. I. They are well suited for ships' use. The 
superiority claimed for them consists in their cleanhness. They 
do not require to be scoured, and are not liable to be infected 
with vermin. The article is made more complete by the addition 
of a sheet of napped vellum, of the size of the hammock, which 
may be drawn underneath it in winter, so that the article when 
arranged in this way, may be considered warmer in cold weather, 
and cooler in hot weather than other hammocks ; and if the 
perforated gum-elastic compound is used, (instead of the other 
fabrics which are not elastic), a hammock is formed as comfort- 
able as can be desired, although it will be more expensive than 
that made of the non-elastic fabrics. See plate , fig. 


The outer surface of this article, for the depth of about an 
inch, is made of gum-elastic sponge ; within it is filled with air 
or light wood, and is designed as a substitute for the wood tom- 
pion, which has been heretofore used. Its use is to keep can- 
non dry and free from rust. This is the invention of an oifi- 
cer, formerly of the United States' Navy ;* it is evidently an 
improvement, and may be termed a perfect cannon cork. 


These are made of plated fabrics, about three feet in diam- 
eter, and are constructed in the same manner as the self-inflating 
globes before described. They are designed for signals for ship's 

* Lieut. Seeley. 


use, and were first made of gum-elastic, by order of Commodore 
Smith, of the United States' Navy, for the use of government 


This use of gum-elastic is the invention of another,* as pat- 
ented by him in the United States, for lightering vessels in shoal 
water. They are made of corded caoutchouc fabrics, sur- 
rounded by a rope netting, and are applied to the vessel in the 
manner represented, plate . Several sets of these camels 
have been ordered for the United States' vessels, for experiment. 


This consists of a dress and apparatus, made chiefly of vul- 
canized gum-elastic fabrics, an idea of which may be obtained 
from the plate. This armor was invented and patented by 
the patentee of the ships' camels, described above.* It was 
designed as a substitute for the diving bell, and was also intended 
by the inventor to be used for pearl diving, for which purpose 
there is good reason to suppose it might be used to advantage. 
See plate 


These are made in the same manner, and of the same mate- 
rials, as the mail-bags, described page , except of a larger size ; 
the value of this article for the preservation of life and property 
is not commented upon here, as this is more particularly 
noticed under the head of Articles for the Preservation of Life 

* Capt. George W. Taylor. 


and Property, Chapter . Another article of this kind is 

made with an air-tight clasp, and tube for inflating it, see plate 
, figs. 1 and 2. 


Are made in the same way as ships' letter bags, of gum-elastic 
fabrics ; they are designed for containing bread for ships' use, 
instead of barrels, by which means bread may be kept dry, and 
room saved in storage. 


These are made of plated cloth, or corded vellum, with water- 
tight mouth pieces, in the same way as the grain bags, described 
page . They are made of different sizes and proportions, 
and without handles, but commonly of the proportions required 
to answer the United States' Navy regulations, where they have 
been used with success. 

This article is designed not only to answer the purpose of a 
clothes bag, but also to render any boat, even though it should 
be leaky, a life-boat, which may be done by lashing to the boat a 
number of them filled with clothing. 


This is a light cask or barrel, made of whalebone board, with 
wooden hoops, as represented in plate xii., fig. 1 ; it is an 
article which has heretofore been made of leather, and is used 
for the safe keeping of cartridges on deck during an action. 



Boat or vessel fenders are made of gum-elastic sponge, either 
in the form of a ring or cushion, see plate , fig. , or they are 
made of heavy vegetable leather, and inflated with air, as repre- 
sented, fig. , in which case they form one of the assortment of 
articles for the preservation of life for ships' use. 


These are made of vegetable leather, with pockets for car- 
tridges, and appendages for the knife or sabre, and revolver. 
See plate xii., fig. 2. 


Knife and sword sheaths are most completely made of caout- 
chouc whalebone and whalebone board. This substance is 
peculiarly adapted for this use, and particularly on shipboard, 
both on account of its pliability as well as water-proof qualities. 
See plate xii., fig. 3. 


This is a cap made after the pattern well known to fishermen 
and sailors by the above name, as represented in plate , fig. . 
They were formerly made of painted canvas, instead of which 
those made of India rubber fabrics are fast coming into use. 



Are best made of vellum or vegetable leather. They are 
much lighter, and much more durable than those made of painted 
canvas, but whether they will be adopted by Jack instead of the 
article made by himself, during his leisure moments, is a matter 
of doubt. 


Or what are termed by sailors Squeal Gees, are made of a 
plate of caoutchouc packing, such as is used for engine packing, 
or of gum-elastic sponge. This article has already been made by 
one of the licensees* to considerable extent, and has been found 
to answer the purpose for which it is used, completely. See 
plate vi., fig. 7. 


The strain and injury done to vessels of war by the recoil of 
the guns, is an evil for which a remedy has long been sought. 
For this purpose it has been proposed to use springs of gum- 
elastic, acting either by extension or by compression : in either 
case, various methods may be suggested for applying them to 
the gun carriage. See plate , fig. 

• Mr. John Greacen, 98 Broadway, New York. 



As this article appears to be deserving of special notice, and 
one that would not be likely to be understood without particular 
explanations, a description of it is given in full from the inven- 
tor's* advertisement, which is as follows : 

" This invention is, without doubt, one of the most perfect, 
ingenious, and valuable articles ever patented in the world ; and 
for simplicity and usefulness, unequaled for the purposes in- 
tended, viz. : for stopping the holes made by cannon balls in 
the sides of ships, and for other purposes, as named in the 
following description. Fig. 1, plate , represents the Shot 
Plug, in a contracted state, and ready for immediate use. In 
time of action, it requires the attention of but one man in each 
wing of the vessel, as in a few seconds the plug can be thrust 
through the hole, as soon so the ball entei's. The ring is then 
drawn off by the lanyard attached, it then expands by a spring, 
and forms a flap-valve, which is acted upon by the pressure of 
the water from without, and securely fastened on the inside of 
the ship, no matter how much splintered, by the buckler and 
screw on the end of the shaft, thus forming an impregnable bar- 
rier to the entrance of water. 

The advantages this Shot Plug have over the old conical or 
wooden plug are various. It supersedes the necessity of sending 
carpenters over the sides of vessels, when in action, to insert 
the wooden plug, whereby they are continually exposed to the 
enemy's sharp-shooters, and frequently lose their lives ; and 
when the ball enters below the water-line, the hole cannot be 
stopped from without, but is secured in the best way possible on 
the inside, by the substitution of oakum, tallow, or any thing 
that comes handy, and never can be made tight. 

Another feature, and a very important one in this invention 
is, that when inserted it does not retard the sailing qualities of 

• Lieut. Seely. 


the vessel. The conical wooden plug always projects from the 
side of the vessel one or two feet, necessarily retarding its motion 
in a very great degree. It also has the advantage of deceiving 
the enemy, as it can scarcely be noticed either after or in being 

This Shot Plug can also be used with the same facility in 
stopping air ports, or side lights, when by accident they are 
broken ; dead lights, horse pipes, when the cables are unbent ; 
pipes passing through the sides of steam vessels, which are liable 
to injury ; also holes caused by snags, or other accidents of the 

Fig. 2 represents the Shot Plug in an expanded shape, and 
is better described and explained by the following remarks, 
having reference to the letters designating its different points 
from A to G. 

A is the conical head into which the outer end of the shaft is 
screwed. It is made of cast iron, in the shape of a cone, and of 
sufficient size in length and breadth, having a circular cavity in 
its large end, forming a curb or ring, for the purpose of receiving 
and protecting the joints of the springs, and forming a shoulder 
or stop, against which the wings strike when expanded. 

B is a centre plate or ring, circular or many-sided, to which a 
number of springs are attached, having an opening in its centre 
to admit the shaft, over which said plate or ring is slipped, and 
secured by the head and shoulder, as represented in descrip- 
tion A. 

C is ten or more slightly curved radial springs, of any desired 
length, hinged to the central plate B, made flat, and slightly 
tapered and widened outwardly, and also curved at their ex- 
tremities, to prevent their catching in the ship's sides. 

D is the central cylindrical shaft, which is passed through the 
circular plate to which the springs are hinged, and screwed into 
the conical head represented by A. This shaft has a screw cut 
on each end : one for the conical head, the other to receive the 
wrench by which the shaft is drawn inward through the buckler, 
represented on the shaft of the contracted Shot Plug in first cut. 


This shaft is jointed at the upper letter D, so as to admit of its 
being appHed with the same facihty, and effectually stopping the 
leak from a shot hole, no matter in what direction the ball may 
enter the ship. 

E is a circular vulcanized spring, made of stout, heavy India 
rubber packing, possessing sufficient powder to force open the 
springs attached to the centre plate or ring, causing the flap- 
valve to expand, and immediately cover the hole, effectually 
shutting out the water in an instant. 

F is a circular sheet of vulcanized India rubber cloth, attached 
to and covering the radial springs, with a hole in the centre suffi- 
ciently large to admit of the shaft passing through, to be attached 
to the conical head. 

G is a circular ring, with lanyard attached. This ring is 
represented in the first engraving, placed in its proper position 
on the Shot Plug, to prevent its expanding before passing through 
the shot hole. It brings the entire springs and covering into a 
compact and proper shape, to protect the cloth from splinters, or 
from being torn in passing through the cavity. After the plug is 
thrust through, the ring is drawn off by the lanyard, the springs 
expand, and the pressure of the water, and use of the screw and 
buckler, secures it tightly, and excludes the water as effectually 
as though the hole was boarded and caulked. 

Samuel J. Seely." 


This is made of any required shape or dimensions, of vegetable 
leather, in the same way as self-inflating air work. It is inflated 
by a self-acting valve tube, and when thrown overboard, being 
attached to the vessel by a rope, it will become self-inflated. 

This is an article which may be recommended to be kept as a 
life buoy on the deck of all vessels. See plate , fig. 

p^ 6 



It has been suggested that harbor buoys may be constructed 
of vulcanized whalebone board, with economy and advantage, 
especially for southern latitudes, where wooden buoys are ex- 
posed to the ravages of insects. The metal buoys which are 
now used are very much heavier, and much more expensive 
than they would be, made of gum-elastic cord ware. The wri- 
ter has no doubt as to the success of an article of this kind, if 
properly made of this material in this way. See plate xi,, 
fig. . 


These articles are made of plated canvas or whalebone 
board, with a ring at each end working on a swivel. For 
ships, the size is commonly about three feet in length and 
eighteen inches in diameter, of the shape represented in plate xi., 
fig. 7. 


Are made of vegetable leather, or cord ware, about fifteen 
inches in length and eight inches in diameter, with a wooden 
block at the end through which the harpoon line is passed. A 
tube is also inserted in the block with which to inflate them. 
This article is fast displacing the leather ones formerly used by 
whalemen. The object for which it is used is to save the har- 
poon and line when the whale is missed in harpooning. See 
plate xi., fig. 3. 

r'^ — — «^® » 



Are made of elastic compound, after the manner of hollow- 
ware. They are designed as a substitute for the small wooden 
and cork buoys that are commonly used with fish lines. See 
plate xi., fig. 4. 


These are made for sportsmen, of non-elastic compound or 
whalebone board, after the manner of hollow-ware and toys in 
moulds. See plate xi., fig. 8. 


These are made of whalebone board, of an oval shape, after 
the method of hollow ware. A tube or hose of the same mate- 
rial passes through the buoy, and is cemented to it at each end. 
The seine rope is passed through this tube in attaching it to the 
seine. The advantage proposed by these floats is lightness, for 
which reason the seine can be more easily dragged, and will not 
be worn by handling, as in the case of wooden floats, which be- 
come water-logged and heavy, see plate xi., fig. 5. 


See Chapter Packing, Sheathing, and Caulking. 

a-T^j^ . _ ___ Ci^2^ 



See Chapter Bathing Apparatus. 


See Chapter Ships, Camp, and Kitchen Utensils. 


See Chapter VII. 


See Chapter Wearing Apparel. 


The hatch of vessels may be improved and rendered safe and 
water-tight by the use of vulcanized India rubber packing set 
around in the sill of the hatch. A projection or ledge is formed 
upon the hatch cover, which shuts upon the packing when the 
hatch is closed, by which means it is made perfectly water- 

1^ o5^ 



The magnitude ,of the consequences depending on the proper 
construction of boats and vessels, demands that all should be done 
that is possible to this end, and although apparently all has been 
achieved that could be, with the materials that have been used 
in the ordinary methods of construction, yet it is more than 
probable that with other materials and methods of combining 
them, further improvements will be made in this art. That the 
caoutchouc fabrics, whalebone and whalebone board, are the 
new materials with which boats of different kinds will be greatly 
improved, there is good assurance. The strength and elasticity 
of these materials, together with their extreme lightness, renders 
their usefulness for this purpose a matter of certainty. In the 
building of large boats, such as ships' long-boats, their strength 
will be increased by the use of the whalebone board, in the form 
of tubes, in the manner hereafter described and represented in 
plate . For other boats, this substance is strong enough in 
the form of sheets, much stronger than any kind of wood of the 
same weight ; nor is it necessary to give it a tubular form for 
boats of any size, except to make them much stronger than wood, 
with the least expense. 

In making suggestions for the adoption of new materials, and 
new combinations of them, for the building of vessels of a large 
class, some circumstances which have led to these suggestions 
are stated, lest it should be thought that the subject is wholly 
foreign to the writer's occupation. 

It is so ordered as a general rule, that individuals of one occu- 
pation cannot easily encroach upon that of others, or make im- 
provements in branches of business with which they are discon- 

There are, however, exceptions to this rule. As some nations 
are so strongly attached to particular customs, and fixed habits 
of thinking and acting, as almost to prohibit all advance in 
science and the arts among them, so different classes of trades 

BOATS. 159 

and mechanics sometimes become so wedded to the method of 
doing things in the way they have been taught, and their interests 
become so blended with the existing state of things, that of all 
persons they are least likely to discover any improvement that 
produces a change, or makes an innovation in their branch of 

An observer, whose mind is free from bias of any sort on the 
subject, may therefore, in some cases, by research, and by apply- 
ing his energies to a single point, come in possession of advan- 
tages, connected with his experience in other matters and pursuits, 
which more than counterbalance the disadvantages under which 
he labors, for the want of knowledge of the new art or profession 
in which he engages. 

The year before the writer commenced his experiments with 
India rubber, he was occupied with attempts in the improve- 
ment of boats, by constructing them of metal tubes upon a plan 
very similar to the one hereafter described. A difficulty was 
then found in combining and securing the tubes together, so as 
to make them water-tight. The improvements in caoutchouc 
manufacture, consequent upon the discovery of the vulcanizing 
process and the invention of the whalebone board, render the 
manufacture of boats upon this plan now both practicable and 
simple. When the art of forming metal tubes shall be sufficiently 
advanced, so that they may be readily shaped to the model of a 
vessel, it is believed, that by the method of combining them, 
represented plate , vessels may be built of metal tubes or 
cylinders instead of sheets or plates of iron as heretofore. 

Since the time of the experiments before alluded to with 
metal tubes, in 1834, great advancement has been made in the art 
of building boats and other vessels of iron ; but this plan of using 
the iron in a tubular form, and particularly the method of uniting 
and binding the tubes, was then, and is even now, quite new. 

As an argument from analogy in favor of this plan of build- 
ing with tubes or cylinders, whether as applied to boats or ships, 
it may be said that the frame-work of the whole vegetable ci^ea- 
tion is cylindrical. The greatest portion of the bones of all 


animals, and especially of birds, is of the same shape, and hol- 
low. This is the form which the Creator has adopted in his 
works (as best exemplified in the case of birds), where strength, 
speed, and buoyancy are requisite ; why should it not be adopted 
in the building of vessels, where the same qualities are neces- 
sary ? 

At the time the writer made his experiments in boat-building 
with metal tubes in New Haven, in 1834, he firmly entertained 
the opinion of the correctness of this theory, and he is now 
fully convinced of its practicability, and that gi'eat improvements 
will be made in boats and vessels by this method of construction 
with tubes. These experiments were pursued during that year 
with the same ardor, and subjected him to the same kind of 
ridicule from those who witnessed them, as subsequently attended 
his experiments with gum-elastic. 

These efibrts at boat-building resulted in the completion of 
two sail-boats, each about fifteen feet long. 

One peculiarity of this method of construction is, that each 
tube is used instead of a plank or timber in the ordinary way of 
building with wood. These tubes being each one hermetically 
sealed, the whole are united together in the manner hereafter 
specified in the article on long-boats, and as represented in 
plate . Another peculiarity is the use of metal, copper, or 
brass for the tubes, instead of iron. It is assumed that the in- 
creased strength of sheets of these _ materials, arising from their 
being used in a tubular form, will more than compensate for the 
difference in strength between them and iron, Vt^hen iron is used 
in the form of plates, so that even the first cost could hardly be 
greater than that of iron as now used, in which case a vast 
economy is obvious. These finer metals used in the form 
proposed, could seldom be lost, even in the case of wreck they 
would float somewhere, and not being liable to corrode, like 
iron, the parts of an old vessel would always be of nearly the 
same value as when new. 

It is not yet known to what extent caoutchouc may be used 
in the construction as well as the equipment of ships. Upon 

BOATS. 161 

this plan of constructing with tubes, it may be used in the con- 
struction of ships as well as of long-boats, when the supply of 
the substance shall be equal to so great a demand. Notwith- 
standing there is a sufficient supply in nature for such a demand, 
the means are not yet applied for gathering it to a sufficient ex- 
tent. This plan of construction, however, is equally applicable, 
whether the tubes are formed of whalebone board only, or of 
sheets or plates of iron or finer metal covered with caoutchouc 
whalebone board. In the first attempts to build a vessel or long- 
boat, they would be constructed with less difficulty by continu- 
ing the tubes entirely around the model, and forming the bows 
and stern of plates of metal, as represented plate , figs. 

The foregoing suggestions are made for the consideration of 
those who may deem them worthy of notice, not doubting that at 
a future day they will receive attention. However speculative 
these views may appear to some, in regard to substituting these 
materials in vessels of a large class for timber, their correctness 
is already clearly demonstrated as applied to boats. A descrip- 
tion of some of these is briefly given in this work. 

The description of a variety of fancy and portable boats, and 
also of portable life-boats, are given in Chapter of this 

volume, the object is here only to describe those designed for 
common use for vessels, such as yawls, long-boats, row-boats, etc. 

The hard compounds, whalebone and whalebone board, in 
sheets, (without being first made into tubes,) are strong enough 
for row-boats and the small boats of vessels. They are superior 
to boats made of wood, on account of their lightness and perfectly 
water-proof qualities, and may be made of one entire sheet of 
uniform strength. 

The seams, of which there are but one or two in the covering 
of a large-sized boat, are the strongest parts of the work, being 
those parts in which wooden boats are most defective, and on 
which account chiefly they are unsafe, whereas boats of these 
materials are so cemented and united as to form one entire 
piece. This substance for boats may be described as a plastic 
wood, which, when in a soft state, may be shaped into any form 



of uniform strength, in which form it is vulcanized, which form 
it retains with this advantage over any natural wood of the same 
bulk or weight, that it is harder, more elastic, and firmer. See 
plate , fig. 


All these various kinds of boats are made of the same mate- 
rials, they are manufactured in the same way, and the same ad- 
vantages appertain to them all in a greater or less degree, there- 
fore the following description of the manner of their construc- 
tion, with the plates, will serve to give an idea of the whole. 
The gunwale knees and keel are made either of wood or iron, 
and covered with thin whalebone board, or they are formed of 
tubes made of thick whalebone board. They are cemented to 
the boats after they are formed in the following manner : — The 
sheets of vulcanized caoutchouc whalebone board being made 
from one to two yards in width, and of any length desired, are 
cemented together upon the outsides of a form or model of the 
boat, in the same way as a shoe is formed upon a last, the keel 
being cemented on afterwards. The boat is then taken off and 
placed inside another form or mould of the same shape, when the 
parts before described are cemented to it, the whole is then vul- 
canized in the mould. See plate , figs. 


Boats of large dimensions, and ships' long-boats, may be made ' 
stronger of these materials by first forming the whalebone board 
into tubes of from two to four inches in diameter, or of such 
dimensions as are best suited to the size of the boat. When put 
together, the tubes are shaped upon a model to the form of the 
boat, and cemented together. They are also cemented to the 
stem and stern pieces, each tube being made separately water- 



tight. The spaces between the tubes are filled by triangular- 
shaped pieces of wood or battings, grooved so as to fit between 
the tubes. These pieces are placed longitudinally between the 
tubes, both outside and inside. 

In order to make the whole structure water-tight, and to give 
the boat greater strength, these battings are covered with 
caoutchouc and cemented in their places. They also serve to 
form a smooth surface both outside and inside the boat. These 
battings are further secured by bolts passing through them and 
between the tubes of the boat. The gunwale knees and braces 
are secured in the same manner as the boats before described. 

It will be perceived that this combination of the materials is 
such as to give the greatest possible strength with the least 
weight. This description may be better understood by reference 
to the plate, fig. . 


Caoutchouc whalebone and whalebone board are materials 
exactly suitable for the manufacture of club and race-boats, on 
account of their great strength and lightness, and the cheapness 
of their manufacture. Thin whalebone board may be used in 
general for club-boats, but caoutchouc whalebone will make the 
lightest and most completely finished race-boat. See plate , 


All the boats before specified are convertible into life-boats 
with trifling expense at the time of their manufacture, by the 
addition of water-tight compartments in the waste room in the 
bottom and sides of the boat, as also at the stem and stern, as 
represented by plate , figs. 

The long-boats before described are necessarily life-boats, as 
they are first made of tubes, but they also may be rendered 


Still more buoyant by the addition of compartments. See plate 
, %. 
For further descriptions of a variety of portable boats and 
portable life-boats, see Chapter 


It is suggested that an important improvement may be made 
in the method of giving ballast to boats and vessels, by the use 
of large tanks made of caoutchouc fabrics, to be placed in the 
bottom of the vessel or boat. 

These bags may be so arranged with connecting hose, that 
the water may be pumped in and out. At the same time the 
fresh water of the vessel may be taken in these tanks, instead of 
being taken in hogsheads, in which case it is apparent there 
would be a great saving of room and labor. 




Bandages. Hospital air beds. Hospital water bed. Improved water beds. Hospital sheets. 
Dissecting gloves. Dissecting aprons. Finger ends, or cots. Crutches. Russian belts. 
Abdominal supporters. Trusses. Ear trumpets. Varicose stockings. Nipple shields. Breast 
pump. Nursing bottles. Poulticing socks. Urine bags. Gonorrhea bags. Bed pans. Pes- 
sary. Syringes. Bellows syringes. Self-acting syringes. Invalids' cushion. Ventilated 
water-beds. Stethescopes. Hot-water bottles. 

It has been remarked that the medical faculty v^^ere among 
the first who gave attention to experiments for the purpose of 
improving gum-elastic, and next to the erasing of pencil marks, 
it was used for medical and surgical purposes. For some of 
these purposes, articles rudely manufactured of native gum by 
the Para Indians, have been highly valued, though they are now 
mostly superseded by an increased variety of others in this line, 
made of vulcanized gum-elastic. Some articles spoken of in 
this chapter, which are of the highest value, are hardly known to 
the mass of mankind, even in highly civilized life, for various 

The expensiveness and only occasional use of such apparatus, 
has been a hinderance to their general introduction. Among 
this apparatus, the merit of which is not commonly known, are 
the hot-water bottles, water beds, and hospital sheets. The 
water beds cannot be too highly recommended for invalids, as 
they will oftentimes afford rest when no other bed will do it. 
The bed-spreads and hospital sheets are equally useful in theii 
place, and probably no means are so convenient and effectual for 
fomentation as the hot-water bottles. The extensive manufac- 
ture and general use of this class of articles, would reduce them 
to a comparatively nominal expense. 



Stayed compound drapery, medicated drapery, and perforated 
felt, and fibrous fabrics, which may be found in the piece at the 
shops, are highly approved for bandages in many cases. Perfo- 
rated gum-elastic knit goods may also be used for the same 
purpose. Perforated knit goods are sometimes preferred for 
bandages, because they may be stitched to fit the limbs, and pos- 
sess greater strength than drapery. A piece of any size to fit the 
limb, being cut from the elastic knit goods, perforated fibrous 
fabric, or felt, will commonly be found the cheapest and best 
bandage for lame, rheumatic, or sprained limbs, or to wear 
around the body. The great objection to India rubber bandages 
has heretofore been excessive warmth. This is obviated in the 
perforated goods. 

When the design is to sweat or foment the limb, or when 
these bandages are to be used in the army, navy, or elsewhere, 
for the stoppage of hemorrhage, medicated drapery, not perfora- 
ted, will be found cheapest and best. These bandages are highly 
approved for the above purposes, and may be recommended as 
a truly useful article ; but in chronic affections, or gout, as has 
been remarked, in the description of medicated drapery, these 
fabrics produce no good effect. 


This name is applied to these beds, because they are par- 
ticularly adapted for the comfort of invalids ; at the same time 
the opinion is entertained that they are better calculated for 
common use, and particularly for ships' use, than any other 
kind of air bed. They are made of gum-elastic, vellum, or 
knit goods, in separate cylinders, or what might equally well 
be termed life-preservers, because, when trimmed for the pur- 



pose, they are really such, and answer quite as well as those 
which are sold expressly for that purpose only. The cylinders, 
being placed parallel to each other, are buttoned to a strap, as 
represented in plate vii., fig. 1, or they may be covered with 
a case, or tick, of the common sort, or of coated cloth, or vellum. 
These beds have one very great superiority over those in which 
the compartments are connected, as they can be easily repaired. 
When one cylinder is damaged by a small leak it can be de- 
tected by immersing it in water, when it might be impossible to 
discover it in a whole "bed where all the compartments are con- 
nected, and in this case the injury only extends to a fifteenth or 
twentieth part, according to the number of cylinders. Besides, 
a damaged cylinder may be replaced by another, or dispensed 
with altogether, until it can be mended. 

Another' recommendation of this article is, that one or more 
of the cylinders may be collapsed, or taken out from under an 
invalid, so as to I'elieve any part of the body from pressure, or to 
give a circulation of air. 


This bed is made as represented in plate vii., fig. 2, by filling a 
box with water, and spreading over it a cloth coated with gum, 
which is nailed to the edge of the box. 

These beds are more troublesome to fill than air beds, and, 
when filled, they are very heavy ; but they are without any other 
objection, and are much easier and more comfortable, especially 
for the sick and lame, than any kind of air bed. 


These are represented by fig. 3 in plate vii. The improve- 
ment over an ordinary water bed consists in the addition of a 



mouth about twelve inches wide, sufficiently large to admit a 
bucket of water or a quantity of ice at once, by which means 
hot or cold applications can be made. 

The mouth is closed by the fastening represented, plate vi., 
fig. . The bed represented by fig. 4, is the same as fig. 3, ex- 
cept it is made in different compartments like an air bed, and 
has also a hose attached, with a copper bulb at the end, by which 
the water in the bed may be heated, by placing the bulb in a 
furnace, or grate, at a distance from the bed, in order to impart 
warmth to the patient. 


These are made of plated cloths, or vellum, about 5 feet by 6 
feet in dimensions. In hospitals and sick rooms they are an 
almost indispensable article for the protection of beds, mattresses, 
&;c., tending very much to the comfort of the patients, as well 
as their attendants. 


The sleeves and hands of dissecting gloves are made of per- 
forated vellum, except the finger ends, which are made of 
drapery which is not perforated, in order that the fingers may be 
more completely protected, the other parts being made pervious, 
that they may not be uncomfortably warm for the wearer. 

When attached to the dissecting apron hereafter described, or 
worn with it, they will be found to be useful articles, and, it may 
be hoped, prevent the fatal accidents that so frequently occur in 
the profession. The drapery, although difficult to be cut with 
an edged tool, is yet so delicate as scarcely to interfere with the 
sense of touch. 



This article may be best made of gum-elastic vellum, in the 
form of a frock, with sleeves attached. When worn with the 
gloves before described, the hands will not only be protected, but 
the person will also be protected from the offensive effluvia of 
the dissecting room. 


Cots are made of gum-elastic drapery and perforated drapery. 
They are used by fishermen and mechanics, and they are also 
very useful for the cure of cut and wounded fingers. When pro- 
tected by them, the hands may be washed in hot or cold water 
with impunity. 


This article is made in two parts, in order that it may be 
taken to pieces and packed for travelling. The head is covered 
with a cushion of elastic sponge, and a spring or cushion of the 
same material is inserted, either in the socket between the parts, 
or at the end. These two cushions have the effect to make 
them quite easy for walking. 

The wood may be covered with gum-elastic vellum, put on 
with glue. This covering prevents the unpleasant rattling noise 
commonly attending the use of crutches. 

An improved and beautiful article of this kind is also made of 
caoutchouc whalebone, of various patterns. See plate , fig. 




These are a well-known article, made as heretofore, of various 
materials, with the substitution of perforated stayed compound, 
or knit goods for the springs, instead of the native gum 
webbing formerly used. See plate xviii., fig. 2. 


These are made of different patterns, but the one which is 
represented plate xviii., fig. 1, has been the most generally ap- 
proved, so far as the writer is informed. It is the invention of 
a professional gentleman.* Wherever it has been used it is 
spoken of in the highest terms. The only objection to it, here- 
tofore, was a tendency to sweat the person, but since the ap- 
plication of perforated stayed compound, and other perforated 
gum-elastic goods to this use, this objection is entirely removed. 
There is now no question, but this and other gum-elastic sup- 
porters of a similar kind, will prove a lasting benefit to many 
persons. A plain piece of perforated knit goods or stayed 
compound, such as is sold at the shops, may also be made to 
answer this purpose very well. 


The springs of some kinds of trusses are advantageously made 
either of the perforated stayed compound, or shirred goods. It 
is also proposed to use vellum, or plated muslin, for covering 
the steel or metal part of the truss, instead of morocco, buckskin, 
and silk, which have heretofore been used ; and, at the same 
time, to cover the parts which require to be made soft, with 
elastic sponge. 

* Dr. Frank Meers, of Naugatuck. 



These are articles which, for many years, have been made of 
spiral wire hose, covered with native gum and velvet, with ivory 
or horn trimmings. A superior article is now made of vulcanized 
gum-elastic hose, trimmed with caoutchouc ivory and whale- 


This article, which has heretofore been made in Europe of 
the covered native gum thread, is made at much less expense, 
either of perforated elastic compound, or perforated knit goods. 

The article is designed to be used for the bandaging of vari- 
cose veins. 


The shield of this article is made of caoutchouc ivory or 
whalebone compound. The nipple of elastic compound. They 
are designed as a substitute for an article of this kind heretofore 
made of wood and metal. See plate vii.. fig. 5. 


This article is made of a hollow bulb of elastic compound, 
about one-quarter of an inch in thickness, and about four inches 
in diameter, with a glass tube inserted at the mouth of the bulb. 
The pump being applied to the breast, acts by the expansion of 
the bulb after the air has been expelled. This may be con- 





sidered the simplest and most useful instrument of the kind, ajid 
one which has been generally introduced in the United States. 
See plate vii., fig. 6. 


Nursing bottles of glass may be fitted with caoutchouc whale- 
bone tube and elastic cork, to be cheap and useful. 


These are a cheap article made of gum-elastic vellum, man- 
ufactured after the manner of water-bottles, described page 
They are used for keeping poultices moist, when drawn over 
them on the feet or hands. 


Are made of gum-elastic compound and plated fabrics. They 
are made of different patterns, as represented, plate vii., by the 
different figures 9, 10, and 11. 

The insoluble properties of these fabrics, together with their 
pliability, render them very suitable for this purpose. 


These are made of plated fabrics, or elastic compound, 
and are well adapted to the purpose for which they are made. 
See plate vii., fig. 12. 



These are intended as a substitute for the earthen or metal 
pans commonly used. They are made of whalebone and elastic 
fabrics, with a rim to be inflated with air. See plate vii., fig. 13. 


This article is made of a ring of non-elastic compound, or 
whalebone, in the same manner as hollow- ware. 


Syringes are among the number of articles that were found to 
answer a good purpose, as made by the natives of Brazil. 

Those made of vulcanized gum-elastic, after the manner of 
hollow ware, as represented, plate vii., figs. 14, 15, 16 and 17, 
are generally introduced in the United States. Like the syringes 
formerly manufactured by the natives, they have the recom- 
mendation of being filled by suction, from the elasticity of the 


This is a pattern of syringe, represented, plate vii., fig. 18. It 
is the invention of a professional gentleman of New York,* and 
may be considered a decided improvement, on account of the 
facility with which they can be operated by the patients them- 

• Dr. Joseph Bradshaw. • 




Fig. 18, plate vii., represents the pattern of syringe which has 
for many years been made in Europe, of the Macintosh cloths. 
This syringe is designed to act by the pressure of the fluid. The 
vulcanized fabrics are found to answer best for these as well as 
all other syringes, particularly on account of their resistance of 
the action of oils. 


The different kinds of cushions described in Chapter XXVII., 
on Air- work, have been particularly noticed, as most comfortable 
for invalids when travelling ; but the articles here alluded to, 
are cushions of various shapes, made to suit the cases of differ- 
ent patients. 

They are mostly of the smaller sizes, and designed to relieve 
the patient in cases of severe illness. See plate xxvii., figs. 4, 5, 
and 6. 


These are made of strong barred vegetable leather, of the pat- 
tern, in all respects, like the ventilated air bed, represented, 
plate , fig. , except that the opening for filling them is made 
large, like those of the other water beds, represented, plate , 


These are made of artificial ivory. 


See Chapter , and plate xxx. 




Thermometer frames and scales. Telescopes. Gas bags. Gasometers. Hydrostatic bellows. 
Opera glass cases. Quadrants. Barometers and chronometers. Water levels. Squares and 
bevels, curves, triangles, and parallel rules. Reel measures. Leveling rods. Dry measures. 
Wine measures. Scales and rules. Instrument cases. Instrument handles. 

There are a variety of instruments and appliances under this 
head, for which the caoutchouc fabrics and compounds are found 
useful ; among them the following may be noticed. 


Thermometer frames are manufactured of caoutchouc whale- 
bone. This material is suitable for this purpose, because it is 
not warped or cracked by heat or cold like wood, or corroded 
like metal. They may be immersed in boiling liquids or steam 
without being injured. 


The cases of telescopes, opera spy-glasses, and other optical 
instruments, may be made with advantage of caoutchouc whale- 
bone or ivory, or being made of sheet metal, they may be im- 
proved by being enameled with caoutchouc enamel. 



These are among the articles first made of the Mcintosh 
fabrics, and which were commonly found to answer a good pur- 
pose. They are now more cheaply manufactured, and answer 
better when made of vulcanized gum-elastic plated fabrics or 
elastic compound. 

They are made small for the laboratory, or of extra large 
sizes for the conveyance of gas from one place to another. 

The value of the fabrics for this purpose is becoming well 
known to chemists and others. 


A tank or reservoir is made of caoutchouc plated canvas for 
holding gas in boats and buildings, where it is made on the 
premises. They are made of the same form as a tub or bellows, 
with a top of whalebone board, upon which weights may be 
placed when required, or they are constructed like self-inflating 
air-work. See plate , figs. 


The sides of these bellows are made of plated India rubber 
canvas, in the common form, as represented plate , fig. , or 
that of self-inflating air-work, which is preferable, as in fig. 
The tops and bottoms are made of caoutchouc whalebone 
board, to which the flexible parts or bellows of the instrument 
are cemented ; consequently, nails are dispensed with in the 
manufacture, while the seams are quite tight and strong, and 
altogether the article is very superior to those which were 
formerly made of other materials. 



Caoutchouc ivory is a suitable material for the cases of opera 
glasses, because of its lightness, and not being affected by change 
of temperature. See plate , figs. 


Those parts of the frames of qjiadrants which have heretofore 
been made of wood, may be made stronger and less liable to 
warp and crack, from caoutchouc ivory and whalebone. See 
plate , figs. 


The cases of barometers and chronometers may be advan- 
tageously moulded from caoutchouc whalebone. The cases of 
clocks and time-pieces are also made of the same materials, in 
the same way ; or when made of wood, they are veneered with 
caoutchouc veneer. An improvement is also made in these 
cases by packing them with gum-elastic sponge, so as to make 
them quite water and air-tight, thereby excluding dust and 
dampness. See plate , fig. 


Caoutchouc ivory and whalebone are materials suitable for 
water or spirit levels, on account of their solidity, and not being 
liable to warp or crack. 



Caoutchouc whalebone is equally well adapted for these ar- 
ticles, as all of them require tough, hard, and durable materials. 
As they are all of them made in the same way in moulds, or 
between plates of metal, they are described under one head. 

j(cj^a e^SSJo 



The cases of carpenter's reel measures are made of caoutchouc 
whalebone. The measure, or tape, is made of gum-elastic vel- 
lum, or of linen tape coated with gum-elastic compound. The 
whole making an improved tape measure. See plate , figs. 


The large dimensions, and the use which is made of leveling 
rods, require that they should be made of a material less liable 
to spring or warp than any wood of which they have heretofore 
been made. When moulded of caoutchouc, they may be made 
hollow and light without being liable to either of these objec- 
tions. Like scales and rules, they are graduated in moulds 
when vulcanized. 


Dry measures are made of caoutchouc whalebone and whale- 
bone board. When formed of these materials, they are strong, 
light, and durable. See plate , figs. 


These articles are manufactured of caoutchouc whalebone. 
They are moulded of this material in one entire piece. 

They are much lighter than metal ; they are preferable to tin 
or copper, because they do not rust or corrode, and owing to 
their elasticity, they are not, like tin or metal, liable to be in- 
dented. See plate , figs. 



Mathematical scales and carpenter's rules are manufactured 
of caoutchouc whalebone and ivory, as substitutes for boxwood 
and ivory. Although they are not yet made as white as ivory, 
they are preferable to either boxwood or ivory on other accounts, 
They are stronger and not so liable to warp or crack as ivory or 
boxwood. They are manufactured with much greater economy 
in the saving of labor and material. The mountings are se- 
curely set in while they are being vulcanized in the mould. 
They are also graduated by the mould during the same process. 
By which process the cost of manufacture is very trifling com- 
pared with that of other rules, as heretofore. 


These are made of caoutchouc whalebone. The two parts 
moulded, each of them, in one entire piece. 

They are further improved by a hinge of gum-elastic com- 
pound, and a cushion or packing of gum-elastic fabric around 
the edge, which makes them quite air-tight, so that the instru- 
ments contained in them are prevented from rusting. See 
plate , fig. 


Superior handles are manufactured from caoutchouc ivory 
and whalebone, for various kinds of surgical, dental, etching, 
drawing, and engraving instruments. The shanks of the in- 
struments being made rough, the handles are formed on them, 
and shaped in moulds when vulcanized, whereby there is great 
economy in the manufacture ; and a decided improvement is 
made in the tools by the handles being secured so perfectly that 
they cannot come off, or be taken off without destroying them. 
See plate , figs. 



Fife. Flute. Clarionet. Clarionet reeds. Piano-fortes. Instrument key stops. Organs Ac- 
cordions. Bag-pipes. Music boxes. Bass viols and violins. Drums. 

Soon after the invention of caoutchouc or gum-elastic ivory, 
it was supposed that it would probably answer well for some 
kinds of musical instruments, before any experiments had been 
made to ascertain how far it might be used for such purposes. 
Since that time it has been proved that this material may be 
applied to a much greater variety of them than was even sup- 
posed, and that, including the other compounds and fabrics, 
some one or more of them may be used either for the whole or 
for parts of almost every musical instrument. 

The advantages claimed for these substances for this use, will 
be alluded to in the description of some of the articles hereafter 
specified, as the different substances have their peculiar advanta- 
ges for particular instruments. There is great economy in the 
manufacture of nearly all of them. They may be moulded into 
perfect forms, with a perfect finish, as easily as wax or lead 
could be made into the same shapes, and the farther facility with 
which they are vulcanized by a new method, described Vol. I., 
page , renders it certain that this new use of caoutchouc or 
gum-elastic, will become one of the most extensive. 

Another superiority claimed for these instruments is that, ow- 
ing to their uniform quality (unlike those of wood) and to their 


uniformity of shape, the cheapest kinds of them may be equal 
to the most costly, so far as tone is concerned, which will bring 
within the reach of all classes, instruments equally good. 
Among those which have been made are the following. 


Gum-elastic ivory was first applied to this instrument as being 
the most simple in its construction. The experiment was en- 
tirely successful. 


For this instrument caoutchouc or gum-elastic ivory has pro- 
perties peculiarly adapted. Being impervious to moisture, it is 
not, like ivory or wood, liable to spHt, and for tone it far sur- 
passes either of those materials. 


The gum-elastic ivory is also adapted to clarionets, the tone 
of which it improves even more than that of the flute. 


India rubber whalebone has the qualities suitable for the reeds 
of clarionets and other wind instruments — toughness and elas- 

ORGANS. 183 


It is yet a subject of inquiry, to what extent caoutchouc may 
be applied to the construction of piano-fortes ; but it is confi- 
dently expected that caoutchouc veneers will be substituted 
in their manufacture for wood veneers, on account of their 
cheapness and durability, their not being liable to warp, as well 
as their susceptibility of receiving a variety of ornamental styles 
of finish, more beautiful than wood. The ivory compound is 
suitable for the black keys. 

As early as 1845 or '46 the writer applied the vulcanized 
gum-elastic to piano-forte hammers. The experiment did not 
then result in any improvement. Since that time, the various 
fabrics having been made of every grade of texture, from the 
softest kid to that of ivory, and these various textures being made 
susceptible of combination indifferent layers, it is presumed that 
this application will eventually become quite successful. 


The water-proof quality and softness of the gum-elastic sponge 
fabric, and also of the elastic compounds, render these fabrics 
well adapted for key stops for musical instruments. 

They are most completely made in moulds, with the inside of 
sponge and the outside of elastic compound, the back being 
napped with fibre for cementing to the key. 


The extent of the application of caoutchouc to the construc- 
tion of organs, is, as in the case of some other instruments, in 
some degree a matter of conjecture. There is, however, little 
doubt but that the pipes may be advantageously made of caout- 
chouc whalebone or ivory. The bellows also may be made of 
plated canvas, which will no doubt answer this purpose better 
than leather. 



India rubber whalebone and ivory are unquestionably superior 
substances for those parts of accordions which have heretofore 
been made of wood, because of the facility with which they are 
moulded, and their being not liable to warp. The light gum- 
elastic fabrics, tissue and vellum, are also suitable for the bellows 
on account of their pliability, durability, and air-proof qualities. 


The pipes of the bag-pipe may be made of caoutchouc ivory, 
the bags of plated fabrics or vegetable leather. 


Caoutchouc ivory is well adapted to the manufacture of the 
cases of music boxes, because of its elasticity, its durable prop- 
erties, and the facility with which it is moulded and ornamented. 


Some experiments have been made with these instruments, 
from which ultimate success in the manufacture of them from 
caoutchouc may be reasonably anticipated. 


India rubber whalebone board and whalebone are suitable 
materials for drums. The flexible fabrics, plated canvas, or 
vellum, are suitable for drum heads, because they are not in- 
jured by dampness. The elastic knit fabrics are also well 
adapted for the heads and covering the sticks of the bass drum. 




Gymnastic ropes. Jump ropes. Inflated bat-club. Chest expanders. Baby jumpers. Swings. 

Invalids' jumper. 


Are manufactured from elastic cordage. There is no ad- 
vantage claimed for these over common ropes, unless it is their 
elasticity and giving variety to articles constructed of them. 
See plate xv., fig. 1. 


Are manufactured from elastic cordage. It is no better for 
this purpose than common rope, except that" it may serve to 
please better as a toy, and afford additional gymnastic exercise 
and amusement, on account of its elasticity. 


This article is made of vellum or felt, and is inflated by a 
self-acting valve tube at the end. They form a weapon, the 
hardest blows from which are quite harmless. See plate xv., 
fig. 2. 



This is a strap of shirred goods, or elastic compound, used for 
exercising the arms and chest, with a handle attached to each 
end. See plate xv., fig. 3. 


Or what are sometimes called the infant's gymnasium, will be 
understood by the diagrams in the plate, so that they may be 
constructed in a cheap way by those who cannot afford to pur- 
chase a completely manufactured article. 

Fig. 4 is the cheapest and really most convenient arrange- 
ment, consisting of a straight bar of wood or bamboo, or a tin 
tube, which should be cushioned and covered ; this is a substitute 
for the hoops that are used in fig. 2. The springs of elastic 
cordage or stayed compound used for this purpose, are about 
eighteen inches long, one inch wide, and one-quarter of an inch 
in thickness. Figs. 5 and 6 represents two kinds of harness or 
dress, into which the child is placed, before it is suspended by 
the straps to the hoops or bars. 

In fig. 4 the straps are united, and hung over the bars at the 
ends, by which the child is so balanced that there is not the 
slightest danger of its getting loose ; a small notch or bead being 
formed at the ends of the bar to prevent the strap slipping off. 
In figs. 7 and 8, the straps are buttoned to hoops. A basket of 
light willow, fig. 9, is commonly first used for the infant, which 
answers a much better purpose than the rocking cradle, giving 
the tossing motion with which children are so well pleased. At 
the age of about five months, the infant is old enough to be put 
into the jumper, with which they almost uniformly continue to 
be delighted from the first time they are placed in it, until they 
can walk, when they prefer a wider range. Should they, as 
sometimes happens, acquire a habit of whirling around, a string 


li^ ^ e^» 

invalids' jumpers. 187 

attached to a bed-post, a nail, or some part of the room, will 
prevent them. 

The spring was first applied to this purpose by the factory 
operatives at Naugatuck, \\hen the apparatus was made in a 
rude way, after the plan of fig. 4. The springs were next put 
in market for sale The fanciful arrangement of the hoop was 
invented and patented by a gentleman in New York.* 

The springs may be obtained at the shops, at a low price, and 
trimmed by any person according to their own taste and means. 

Care should be taken when the child is suspended from a hook 
in the wall, that it is strongly fastened, as the consequences of 
neglect to do this have sometimes proved serious. 


The seats of these swings are covered with gum-elastic vel- 
lum, vegetable leather, or cushioned with gum-elastic sponge 
fabric, so as not to be injured by exposure to the weather. 

A spring of elastic cordage is inserted in the strap or rope, in 
the manner represented in the plate, figs. 10 and 11, which gives a 
perpendicular, as well as a backward and forward motion to the 


This is made on much the same plan as the springs above 
described, except that a chair is used instead of a seat, as repre- 
sented in the plate, figs. 12 and 13, with hand straps attached. 

• Mr. George Tuttle 



Dolls. Magnetic toys. Quadrupeds and birds. Air hoops. Rattle-boxes. Cross-bows. Toy 
guns. Teething rings. Battle-door. Picture books. Kites. Whistles. Needle cases. Watch 
guards. Shawl pins. Hair clasps. Bat and parlor balls. Hair loop. Churches and cottages. 
Vehicles. Boats. Hard compound toys. 

A VARIETY of toys are made already of the different gum-elas- 
tic fabrics, and it is very evident that the list of them may be 
extended almost indefinitely. A few of them only are described 
in this work. 

The tissue is well adapted for kites ; the hollow ware for 
rattle-boxes, dolls, balls, &c., as well as for the magnetic toys, 
such as fishes, ducks, quadrupeds, &c. ; the drapery for some or- 
namental articles, imitation grapes, &c. Of the importance of 
these improvements in the extension of the manufacture of toys, 
the wi'iter has nothing to say, but much might be said as 
relates to economy in such as are made. It will be admitted 
most certainly, that vast sums of money may be saved in the 
aggregate, by the manufacture of toys from materials that will 
cause them to last for years instead of a passing hour. It may 
be remarked that gum-elastic toys, as regards form, finish, &c., 
are, in general, or may be much more true to nature, uniform, 
and complete than other toys commonly are ; and that where 
oil colors are put upon the surface of the toys, when they 
become defaced or soiled, as they generally will be before the 
article receives the slightest injury in any other way, the color- 
ing may all be removed by boiling in soap suds, and the toy be 
left white, or recolored if desired. 

If the good maxim is applicable to toys, as to other 



things, that every thing which is worth doing is worth doing 
well ; and more than all, if the durability of these things is of 
any sort of consequence, the value of gum-elastic for these 
branches of manufacture is greater than would at first appear ; 
and it is not strange that it should have been one of the first 
attended to by the Indians, in the construction upon clay forms 
of such rude images as they conceived to be quadrupeds and 
birds, and which were sold in civilized countries to considerable 
extent for toys. 

It may be submitted to the investigations of the phrenologist, 
to ascertain what effect the durability of gum-elastic toys may 
have upon the organ of destructiveness in children ; certain it 
is, however much they may exercise it, it will not be easy for 
them to destroy or mutilate these toys. 


This is, perhaps, the most important of all the articles in the 
toy line, at least the one which is the most in demand. 

This article is made after the method of hollow ware, either of 
elastic compound or of gum-elastic ivory. It cannot be injured 
by the ordinary play of children without the aid of fire, violence, 
or very destructive edge tools. 

On the manufacture of the first specimen, the license for this 
article for the United States, was disposed of by the writer to 
an enterprising merchant of New York.* 


Fishes, ducks, tortoises, &c. are made of elastic compound 
or gum-elastic ivory, after the method of hollow ware. They 
are magnetized in the same way as the metal toys have hereto- 

• B. F. Lee. 



fore been, by the insertion of a steel point at the nose or bill. 
For the information of those who have not seen these toys, it 
may be said, that when placed in the water, they will sail or 
swim after a magnet when one pole of it is placed before them, 
or go from it when approached with the other pole of the 
magnet. See plate vi., fig. 1. 


These are also made in moulds like hollow ware, and may be 
so constructed as to make different sounds, without being so 
liable as other toys to get out of repair in this particular. 


Hoops of all sizes may be made of elastic compound, and in- 
flated with the self-acting valve tube. See plate vi., fig. 2. 

Solid hoops may also be very completely made of gum-elastic 


Are made of elastic compound, with the handle of the same 
material, and a teething ring of elastic compound attached to it. 
Being quite soft to the mouth, they make a suitable toy for 
young children. The sound of these boxes is very good, being 
produced by small metal bells within the box. See plate vi., 
fig. 3. 



Gum-elastic springs are used for cross-bows, as represented in 
plate vi., fig. 4. The advantage of this spring over the bow 
is, that it does not occupy much space like the bow. 


These may be made in a variety of ways, with an elastic 
spring like the cross-bow described. The only objection to 
these guns is, that they require care, to prevent their becoming 
a deadly weapon. 


This is one of the first toys made of the native gum-elastic in 
France and England, many years previous to their being made 
in America, of vulcanized gum-elastic. 


The cork for this toy is made of gum-elastic sponge and 
feathers, and the bat of a hoop, of gum-elastic whalebone, cov- 
ered with gum-elastic vellum or parchment. 


May be made of elastic tissue to advantage, if durability is at 
all desirable in such an article. 




The frame of all kinds of kites may be covered with tissue to 
much advantage, not only because it is more durable than paper, 
but because it is water-proof, and may be kited in a storm. 

Kites are also made of this fabric inflated with air around the 
border, which are inflated by the self-acting valve tube. See 
plate vi., fig. 8. 


These may be noticed, as being made of non-elastic compound 
and gum-elastic ivory, on account of their being a common toy, 
and forming an appendage of the child's teething ring. Whoever 
purchases the article at a fair profit upon the cost of production, 
will not have occasion to complain of having paid too " dear for 
the whistle." The invention of a lady. 


A case for securing knitting needles is very completely made 
of gum-elastic ivory, in connection with a spring of gum-elastic 
braided cord. See plate vi., fig. 5. 

This article was first made in Europe, of metal, with a spring 
of the native gum. 


These are well known to the public generally, as among the 
convenient and useful articles formerly made of braided cord 
from native gum-elastic, now made of vulcanized cord. 


When made of vulcanized cord, they do not soften or decom- 
pose Hke those made of the native gum. 


A useful little article made with a cap, to cover the point of 
the pin, and attached to it by a spring of gum-elastic braided 
cord. See plate vi., fig. 6. 


This is an ingenious little article,* made of gum-elastic, with 

a clasp of polished steel, or other metal, and used by ladies as a 

hair tie. There is also a tape made of gum-elastic, which is 

used for the same purpose, alluded to, Chapter XIV. See plate 

,fig. . 


See Chapter 


This consists of an elastic ring or tie, looped upon an artificial 
ivory button. It is found useful for fastening ladies' hair. See 
plate vi., fig. . 

* Invented by a gentleman of Worcester, Mass. 



A variety of these and other toy buildings are made of gum- 
elastic compound, in moulds, like other toys. 


For this class of toys the gum-elastic compounds have two 
special recommendations. They are much more durable than 
wooden vehicles, and do not make a rattling noise, like those of 


These fabrics, both the elastic compound and whalebone, are 
exactly suited to the manufacture of toy boats, on account of 
their strength and water-proof quality. 


All the toys that have been described, and an almost endless 
variety of others not noticed, may be made of the hard com- 
pounds — caoutchouc enamel, ivory and whalebone — with ad- 



Footballs. Parlor balls. Bat and wicket balls. Boxing gloves. Boxing jackets. Ten-pins. 
Billiard cushions. Billiard balls. Improved skates. Skate trimmings. Skating caps. Skating 
jackets. Backgammon boards. 


Are either made of elastic compound, in the same way as 
hollow-ware, or they may be more substantially made of gum- 
elastic felt, or vegetable leather. 

These ate uniformly inflated with a tube, as they are not 
otherwise made stiff enough to retain their shape without being 
too heavy. 

In case these balls become damaged, they may be used instead 
of leather cases for bladders, although when properly manufac- 
tured, it will be found an exceedingly difficult matter to injure 
them fairly. 


Parlor balls are manufactured from tissue or vellum, and are 
inflated by the self-acting valve tube, described, page 

A curious article of this kind is also made from drapery, stayed 
by being netted with elastic cord. See plate xxiii. fig. 1. 



Are made of elastic compound, by the method of manufactur- 
ing hollow-ware, described, page , Vol. I. When made 
of a suitable thickness, they will not collapse when damaged, 
but will retain their shape from their elasticity. They are 
sometimes perforated in the manufacture like sleigh bells, to 
admit the sound of small bells or pieces of metal that are in- 
closed within them when they are made. 

All the varieties of gum-elastic balls admit of various styles of 
ornamenting, embossing, &lc. 


The boxing gloves heretofore manufactured of buck-skin, may 
be improved by attaching an air chamber upon the back of the 
glove, instead of one that is stuffed; or the whole glove may be 
made of gum-elastic fabrics, making use of the perforated fabrics 
for the glove. In either case the article is inflated with the self- 
acting valve tube. See plate xxiii., fig. 2. 


This article is made of ventilated air- work of gum-elastic knit 
fabrics. When inflated with air, the hardest blow has very 
little effect upon the person wearing it. See plate xxiii., fig. 3. 

T E N - P I N s . 

These are \vooden pins of the common kind, first covered 
with vellum cloth, and next wound with vellum cord, like cord 
ware. They are also made either of gum-elastic sponge or elastic 


compound, in moulds, in the same manner as bat balls. They 
may be weighted with fluids or metals, so as to stand more or 
less firmly, and to be more or less liable to be scattered by the 


The native gum has formerly been used for this purpose with 
some success. 

A decided improvement has been made in this article by a 
billiard-table manufacturer in New York,* by the use of tubes 
made of vulcanized gum, and ropes made of gum-elastic sponge. 
These cushions or ropes of gum-elastic sponge are joined to the 
rim of the table, and are considered a great improvement upon 
billiard tables. 


It is supposed that caoutchouc ivory may answer better for 
billiard balls than real ivory, for the reason that there is not the 
same difference in the weight of its parts that there is in real 
ivory, and because the material is cheaper, is worked without 
waste, and can be made of any desirable degree of hardness. 


A description of this article is given, because it is believed it 
will form a valuable improvement in skates, and for the reason 
that it illustrates forcibly, as in the article of Military Caps, the 
aidvantages which are derived from welding the hard and non- 
elastic vulcanized fabrics, to the flexible and elastic ones. 

* Mr. Abraham Bassford. 


These skates are formed in moulds like gum-elastic hollow- 
ware. The steel runner is inserted in the bed, (which is made 
of caoutchouc ivory,) when the ivory is in a soft state. 

The upper part, or shoe, is made of perforated elastic com- 
pound, and cemented to the caoutchouc ivory When straps are 
required, they are also cemented to the ivory; the entire skate 
is then vulcanized in the mould at one time. The design of the 
elastic shoe and straps is to obviate the difficulty of the skate 
getting loose, and the feet being hurt, as is the case with skates 
fastened in the usual way with leather. See plate xxiii., fig. 7. 


Skates may be more firmly bound to the feet, and rendered 
more comfortable, by inserting a spring of elastic compound 
near the buckle in the front straps, and the addition of a heel- 
strap made of perforated elastic fabrics. See plate xxiii., fig. 4. 


Are manufactured of porous napped fabrics, with a belt about 
four inches in width and two in thickness, made of the quilted 
fabrics, or of air- work, and inflated with air. See plate xxiii., 
fig. 5. Considering the numerous hurts received by boys falling 
upon the ice, this will not be considered an unnecessary precau- 
tion. The same article, when made of tissue, of suitable pat- 
terns, might also be found useful for children, to protect them 
from injury by falls. 


This article is manufactured of vellum, and is either quilted 
or inflated with air. It is not only designed for a life-preserver 



where there is danger in skating, but is intended as a protection 
from harm by falling. It is made open in order to make it cool, 
being a sort of inflated net-work. With one of these jackets, 
and a cap such as is described above, lads may be safely equipped 
for skating. See plate xxiii., fig. 6. 


Gum-elastic vellum, printed or colored for the purpose, is a 
suitable article for covering backgammon and checker boards, on 
account of its durability and softness. A more highly finished 
and beautiful article may also be made of caoutchouc ivory, the 
figures and colors being inlaid while the gum is in a soft state, 
in the process of manufacture. 



Gun cases. Game bags. Fishing rods. Fish bags. Fish baskets. Self-filling bottles. Sports 
men's flasks. Sportsmen's canteens and fishermen's bottles. Sportsmen's portable cups. Shot- 
bags. Powder flasks. Pouches. Sportsmen's pantaloons. Sportsmen's boots. Sportsmen's 

A VERY considerable number of articles for the use of sports- 
men have been made of vulcanized gum-elastic materials, and 
found to answer so well, that the demand for them is constantly 
increasing. Among numerous articles of this kind, those here 
described are thought to be particularly deserving of notice. 


Gun cases are manufactured of non-elastic compound or 
vegetable leather, after the method of gum-elastic hollow-ware, 
and are designed as a substitute for those heretofore made of sole 

When the breech is made tight, in the same manner as the 
gun-covers described in this work, they will, like them, not only 
buoy up the gun in the water, and protect it from wet, but also 
answer in part the purposes of a life-preserver. See plate xxii., 
fiff. 1. 


To prevent these bags from being uncomfortably warm for 
the sportsman, they are made of perforated gum-elastic plated 


vellum, with water-proof pockets attached, made of the same 
material, not perforated, in which articles may be kept dry. 

The netting of this article is made of elastic cord. See plate 
xxii., fig. 2. 


Fishing rods which are made hollow, and in sections to fit one 
within the other, so that they are portable, like the cane rods, 
may be very completely manufactured from caoutchouc whale- 


Like game bags, these are made of gum-elastic vulcanized 
fabrics, in two apartments, one of which is water-proof, for 
containing articles that need to be kept dry. 

The other apartment is made of perforated goods, so that it 
may be taken off upon occasion, and fish may be kept alive in 
the water, or be carried alive in the water-proof apartment, con- 
taining water. 

Separate small apartments are also added, for the purpose of 
containing bait, tackle, &c. See plate xxii., fig. 3. 


This article, which has heretofore been made of willow, 
may be advantageously made either of cord- ware or perforated 
gum-elastic whalebone board. See plate xxii., fig. 4. 


sportsmen's canteen and fishermen's bottle. 209 


These are made oval-shaped, of elastic compound, of various 
sizes, after the manner of hollow- ware, the mouth being made of 
caoutchouc ivory. The improvement in these articles consists in 
this, that after being collapsed by the pressure of the hand, they 
will fill themselves without a tunnel, and will also take the 
water quite pure from a spring or rivulet which is very shallow, 
when it could not readily be obtained clear in any other way. 
This bottle is especially valuable to sportsmen and farmers. 
When it is collapsed, and the cork is inserted, it occupies but 
little space. See plate xxii., fig. 5. 


This is a glass bottle, covered in the same way as the bottles 
and demijohns described in another chapter, or they are made 
of caoutchouc ivory without glass. They are made in a variety 
of patterns, such as are commonly made of leather, in two parts ; 
the cover or bottom which comes off, answering the purpose of 
a drinking cup. See plate xxii., fig. 6. 


These articles are made with the improved caoutchouc ivory 
hose-stopper, (represented, plate , fig. ,) through which one 
can drink from them without drawing a cork, and by which 
they may also be inflated and used as life-preservers, when 
emptied of water; for these reasons, these canteens are believed 
to be one of the most useful and important improvements in 
gum-elastic. See plate xxii., fig. 7. 

210 GOODYEAR ON G U M - E L A S T I C . 


These articles are made of elastic compound or vegetable 
leather. They are intended as a substitute for the articles here- 
tofore made of animal leather, well known to sportsmen. The 
chief recommendation of this pattern of cup is, that it folds more 
compactly than any other. 


Shot bags are manufactured, either single or double, of non- 
elastic compound or vegetable leather. They may be advanta- 
geously made in moulds, hke gum-elastic hollow-ware, with 
caoutchouc ivory tubes, cemented to the bag in the process of 


Sportsmen's flasks, for either powder or shot, are made of 
non-elastic compound or gum-elastic whalebone, by the same 
method as gum-elastic hollow-ware. They may be recom- 
mended for their durability as well as for their water-proof 
qualities. See plate xxii., figs. 8 and 9. 


A variety of patterns of these are made of gum-elastic fabrics. 
With the addition of the water-proof clasps or fastenings, they 
are made quite water-proof See plate xxii., fig. 10. 





Are made like sporting boots, with the addition of waistbands 
of plated cloth or corded vellum. They are only suitable for 
wading, fishing, or standing in the water, on account of their 
too great warmth. 


See Chapter XX. 

See Chapter 




Baddies. Saddle covers. Martingal. Girths. Surcingles. Stall carpets. Riding bridles. 
Halters. Fly-nets. Fetters. Foot-caulking. Horse-blankets. Improved horse-blankets. Im- 
proved stirrup. Whips. Buffalo and imitation buffalo robes. Feed-bags. Hoof-shoes. Knee- 
fenders. Fetlock fenders. 

The ills to which the horse is subject from his very nature, in 
addition to his servitude, are every way deserving of considera- 
tion ; and any thing that can be done for his relief, or to render 
his condition more comfortable, seems almost as much to be de- 
sired as if done for man himself; his sufferings demand sym- 
pathy, and man's feelings should be enlisted in his behalf, not 
only on the score of mercy, but also of interest. Most of the 
appliances of gum-elastic that are intended for the comfort of 
the horse, appear to be without objection. In no part of his 
harness is there such defect as in the collar and saddle. This 
defect arises mostly from the unsuitableness of the material of 
which they are made ; and as yet, so far as has been known, no 
other would answer the purpose at all. It would seem that the 
sufferings of horses from galling collars and saddles, had ceased 
to be regarded, from despair of finding a remedy. The galling 
of the horse by the leather collar is the most obvious, but not 
the most injurious of its effects. It is very frequently put on 
cold and wet, and often frozen, and unquestionably more colds 
are taken by horses from this unnoticed cause than almost any 
other. Whether these evils are to be remedied by the inven- 
tions described in this and the following chapter, remains to be 



Specimens of saddles have heretofore been made of gum-elas- 
tic in different ways, some inflated with air, others with elastic 
compound springs. 

Notwithstanding there are conflicting opinions about the 
usefulness of springs of any kind as applied to saddles, it is 
believed that the manufacture of gum-elastic saddles, with springs 
of the same material, and also of air, will become an important 
one. The objection to leather saddles, that they are liable to 
become saturated with water, is one that is well known to all 
that are accustomed to horseback riding. 

By exposure to the weather and storms, the saddle is not only 
soon destroyed, but the health and the life of the rider are much 
endangered. To remedy these evils is an object worthy the 
attention of the philanthropist, as well as the manufacturer. It 
is probable that vulcanized gum-elastic is suitable for this purpose, 
and since the introduction into this manufacture of gum-elastic 
sponge, and the porous fabrics and hard compounds, it is reason- 
able to suppose that these materials may be so combined as to form 
a saddle comfortable for the horse and the rider. The inventor 
has made some specimens, both of the common forms and those 
that are inflated with air, according to his idea of the best com- 
bination of these materials for this purpose. See plate xxiv., 
figs. 1 and 2. 


Saddle covers are made of gum-elastic plated fabrics. They 
are designed for the protection of leather saddles and the com- 
fort of the horseman. They may also be made in moulds of 
gum-elastic sponge. See plate xxiv. fig. 3. 



The rings of the gum-elastic martingal are manufactured of 
caoutchouc ivory. The straps are corded harness leather. An 
improvement is made in the straps by inserting in them a spring 
of elastic compound. See plate xxiv., fig. 4. 


Saddle girths are made of gum-elastic or other webbing, with 
a spring of perforated elastic compound, about two inches in 
length, inserted either about the middle or at either end of the 
girth. The springs are varied in length, according to the thick- 
ness of the compound, and the width of the web. By the use of 
this girth the saddle is made more secure from turning, as the 
girth may be drawn very tight without inconvenience to the 

It is believed that a perforated gum-elastic felt or vegetable 
leather webbing will be found to make an additional improve- 
ment in the girths here described, on account of its durability 
and cleanliness. When this webbing is used, it is necessary that 
they should be made up at the factories, for the purpose of stay- 
ing the buckle holes, in the same manner as the traces and bag- 
gage straps hereafter described. See plate xxiv., fig. 5. 


Are made either of woven web or of perforated felt, like the 
saddle-girths already described, with a spring of the same sort, 
only about twice the length of that in the saddle-girths, so as to 


give greater elasticity. In addition to cleanliness, another ad- 
vantage in the use of this surcingle is, that with it the horse's 
blanket can be kept on at night, which it is extremely difficult to 
do with a non-elastic surcingle. See plate xxiv., fig. 6. 


Are made of perforated sponge or thick packing.* Gentlemen 
who are careful of their horses will hardly regard the expense of 
this article. The entire cleanliness of a stall carpeted in this 
way is a great consideration, particularly if it be true, as has 
been stated, that blindness of horses is often in consequence of 
the vapor of ammonia arising from wet stalls. The comfort and 
health of horses may be greatly promoted by the use of these 
carpets. When made of a suitable thickness, this article forms 
not only a carpet, but also a bed for the horse. See plate xxiv., 
fig. 7. 


The bits and buckles of these riding bridles are covered with 
caoutchouc enamel, the check rein is made in part of elastic 

The hand reins are made of corded caoutchouc leather, 
covered with a light woven fabric. 


Halters of different kinds may be cheaply and substantially 
made at the gum-elastic factories, of corded caoutchouc harness 




Are made of elastic cord, spun or cut from the elastic com- 
pound. The webbings or stays which connect the netting, are 
made of knit goods or gum-elastic felt. The advantages claimed 
for this article are, that they will not soil or rot like those made 
of cotton or worsted, and that when soiled they can be readily 
cleansed by rinsing in water. 


The fetlock rings of these are made in moulds, of gum-elastic 
sponge. They are either made whole and slipped over the 
horse's hoof, or they are made open and secured around with 
buckle and straps. Instead of a chain, elastic cordage is used 
for connecting them. If any recommendation can be given in 
favor of fetters of any kind, these may be considered com- 
paratively comfortable for animals. See plate xxiv., figs. 8 and 


A heavy sheet of elastic compound or packing is sometimes 
used with very great advantage, when the frog and lower part 
of the hoi'se's hoof has been wounded or injured. 

It is nailed between the shoe and the bottom of the foot, so as 
to protect the frog from injury in travelling when it is inflamed. 


One of the earliest applications of gum-elastic was to horse- 
blankets, which have become well known to the public. They 

— 5^S© 


are most useful when horses are standing exposed in cold 
storms. At other times they are objectionable on account of 
confining perspiration. Cloths plated on both sides are most 
suitable for this purpose, for the reason that cloths, coated on 
both sides, are not so liable to become mildewed, and to rot, as 
those which are coated only upon one side. 


An improved article of horse-blankets may be made of plated 
and napped fabrics, in two ways. Either by ventilating them 
in the way described and represented in plate , fig. , or 

by making the top of the blanket of the above materials finely 
perforated, as represented by plate , fig. . Either of 

these blankets will permit the free escape of perspiration from 
the horse, and yet exclude the rain. 


Stirrup irons of all sorts may be protected from rust by cover- 
ing them with caoutchouc enamel. A further improvement is 
made in them which is particularly applicable to ladies' stirrups, 
by the addition of a cushion of gum-elastic sponge to the bottom 
of the stirrup. See plate , fig. . A limited spring of 

stayed elastic fabric, of about two inches in length, is inserted 
in the stirrup leather, which gives a pleasant elasticity to the 
strap. See plate xxiv., fig. 12. 


Team whips, or an article made as a substitute for the covered 
leather whips, have been manufactured by the licensees* from 

* Newark India Rubber Company. 


these materials, which have been much approved on account of 
their durabihty, and not being Hable to be damaged by vi^et 
Hke leather. There is good reason to suppose that when the 
manufacture is farther advanced, a great variety of fancy 
whips, as well as whip-lashes, will be made with equal advantage 
and economy. The artificial gum-elastic ivory is certainly a 
very suitable article for the mountings of such articles. 


BufFal6 robes are much improved and protected from wet by 
being covered on the flesh side of the skin with a lining of napped 
fabric. A good substitute for the buffalo-robe is also made by 
lining a heavy woolen drugget with napped caoutchouc cloth, 
or plating the drugget with gum-elastic. 


Which are used by teamsters for feeding horses, are manufac- 
tured of plated fabrics, or perforated vegetable leather. When 
made of the former material, they may also be used for watering 
the horse ; and when made of the perforated fabric, they may 
be recommended in preference to those made of close- woven 
canvas, on account of the free admission of air to the horse 
while feeding. 


These are made of vegetable leather, or of non-elastic com- 
pound, in moulds, after the method of gum-elastic hollow-ware. 
They are a useful and convenient article for protecting the feet 



of lame horses while standing in the stall ; and are preferable to 
leather on account of their water-proof quality, especially when 
poultices are applied. See plate xxv., fig. 1. 


Horses' knee fenders or bandages are made Vfery complete 
of perforated gum-elastic felt, or stayed elastic compound. 
Bandages of these materials, both with and without perforating, 
are useful for fomentations in case of hurts, and to relieve 
sprains. See plate xxv., figs. 2 and 3. 


These are made of perforated caoutchouc fabrics, elastic com- 
pound, or elastic sponge, as represented plate xxv., fig. 4. They 
are also made in moulds, of a ring of elastic sponge, as represented, 
fig. 5. This ring, being sufficiently elastic for the purpose, does 
not require a buckle and strap, but is drawn on over the hoof 

Either of these articles will be found a desirable substitute for 
those made of leather, which have formerly been in use. 



Horse collars. Harness saddles. Harness bridles. Covered buckles. Baggage straps. Elastic 
straps. Collar pads. Traces. Reins. 

The writer first attempted to manufacture gum-elastic harness 
from coated canvas, in 1843, for which, together with buckles 
and other gum-elastic articles, a gold medal was awarded at the 
fair of the American Institute, in 1844. Subsequently, much 
difficulty was met w^ith in the attempts to manufacture harness, 
in consequence of the want of a canvas strong for the 
purpose, and the buckle holes tearing out. These obstacles 
being now removed by the inventions hereafter described in this 
work, it is rendered certain that some parts, at least, if not the 
whole harness, can be made of gum-elastic fabrics with economy 
and advantage. As different parts of the harness are made of 
different materials, with advantages peculiar to each, they are, 
therefore, separately described in this chapter. 

When complete sets of harness are made, it is necessary that 
they should be made up at the India rubber factories, in order 
that the stays or eyes may be cemented in for the buckle holes, 
and that the caoutchouc whalebone ivory and enamel may be 
joined to such parts as require it, while the materials are in a 
soft state, and being manufactured. 

The improvements alluded to, by which the difficulties are 
removed in the manufacture of harness, are, caoutchouc harness 
leather, and the method of staying the buckle holes, briefly 
described at the end of this chapter ; and caoutchouc whalebone 
and the semi-hard or non-abrasive compound, described Vol. I., 
Chapter II. 



Attempts were formerly made, both in England and the 
United States, to manufacture horse-collars of native gum-elastic, 
to be inflated with air ; but these attempts were not successful. 
The writer, also, made specimens of vulcanized horse-collars, 
both inflated with air and stuffed in the usual manner, in 1843. 

The chief objection to these articles, at that time, was that of 
galling and sweating the horse. 

The kind of collar to which these fabrics are best adapted, is 
one recently invented, as represented plate , fig. , it is 

made by a combination of gum-elastic sponge and whalebone, 
formed in moulds. Perforations are made through the pad oi 
the collar to admit the free circulation of air ; that part of it 
which comes next the horse may be lined with woolen or 
leather, after the collar is finished, to prevent the gum from gall- 
ing the horse. 


The trees and skirts of these saddles are made of caoutchouc 
whalebone. The hooks and turrets are plated with caoutchouc 
enamel. The pads are made either of perforated gum-elastic 
sponge or of the quilted caoutchouc fabrics. See plate , 


The blinders of gum-elastic harness bridles are made of caout- 
chouc whalebone, the bits and buckles are plated with caout- 
chouc enamel, and the reins are made of caoutchouc harness 
leather; a part of the check-rein being made of elastic com- 
pound. See plate , fig. 



The covering of buckles with caoutchouc enamel is fully 
demonstrated to be a valuable improvement. They are manu- 
factured of different colors cheaper, and are better when made, 
than those that are covered with animal leather. 


Baggage, trunk, and other straps are made of caoutchouc 
harness leather, the buckle-holes being stayed by strong linen 
cord or metal wire, cemented in around the holes or before them, 
in such a manner as to hold firmly, and prevent the buckle- 
tongue from tearing out. See plate xxv., fig. 9. 


The baggage, trunk, and other straps above described, are 
much improved by inserting from one to two inches in length 
of elastic stayed fabrics, in the strap near the buckle of the 

Straps made of animal leather may be made elastic in the 
same way, by which means they are more easily managed, and 
bind any article more securely, than those that are unyielding 
or non-elastic. See plate xxv., fig. 10. 


These are manufactured of ventilated quilted fabrics, or in 
moulds, in the same manner as horse-collars, being subsequently 
lined with woolen stuffs, to prevent their galling the horse. See 
plate XXV., fig. 11. 



These are manufactured at the factories only, and are made of 
caoutchouc harness leather, with the buckle-holes stayed in the 
same way as the elastic straps before described. There is, per- 
haps, no article of gum-elastic, or any part of gum-elastic harness, 
that is made with so great a saving of labor as the traces. This 
economy of labor is fully demonstrated by the fact, that one girl 
will make up twenty pairs of gum-elastic traces per day, while 
it is a day's work for a journeyman saddler to stitch a single 
pair of traces made of animal leather. See plate xxv., fig. 12. 


The round parts of these are made of caoutchouc harness 
leather. The hand-rein is made of the same material, either 
napped or covered with a light woven fabric. 



Coach curtains. Improved coach curtains. Hammer-cloths. Coach lace. Coach boots. Wagon 
and chaise boots. Baggage boots. Baggage covers. Box cushions. Coach and chaise cushions. 
Improved box, coach, and chair cushions. Improved cushion covers. Carriage dasher& 
Coach whips, riding whips, and switches. Coach mountings. Coach trumpets. Improved 
coach and car sashes. Improved blinds. Improved carriage dashers. Coach pannels. 

Some of these articles which are made of vulcanized gum- 
elastic, may be considered important on account of their cheap- 
ness, in comparison with those which have heretofore been 
made of other materials for the same purpose. 

Others, because this material is comparatively indispensable 
for their manufacture on account of its water-proof qualities. 

Of the latter sort are the cushions for waggons and the 
driver's box, hereafter described. With the stuffed cloth and 
leather cushions which have been furnished, drivers are exposed 
to a vast deal of hardship and suffering during storms, and the 
evil does not end with the storm. The cushion, or rather the 
sack of stuffing, becomes completely saturated with water, which 
continues to endanger their health even more than before, be- 
cause it seldom, if ever, becomes dry. 

The napped and plated fabrics might be highly recommended 
for the lining of stages and coaches throughout, on the score 
of quality and cheapness, except that the odor of them may be 
considered objectionable for close and expensive coaches. 

In reply to this objection it may be urged, that as the gum- 
elastic linings acquire age, they will become free from odor, and 
remain much more cleanly than cloth linings. 

They will not, like cloth, become impregnated with filth and 


odor after being much used, more offensive than that of India 
rubber. They have the further recommendation of not being 
damaged by the driving in of the rain. 


Plated canvas is much used for coach and wagon curtains 
The best article of this kind is made of knit fabrics, plated with 
caoutchouc, and finished in imitation of enameled leather. 

When coach curtains are made of knit goods, the elasticity of 
the curtain allows it always to be buttoned tightly, an advantage 
which is often missed in leather curtains, on account of their 


This curtain is constructed as represented in plate xxvi., fig. 1, 
with an opening in the middle, and a fall or cover so arranged 
with buttons or strap that the passenger may open or shut it to 
obtain light or air without calling upon the driver. In a public 
stage coach it is a comfort or convenience that may be enjoyed 
by an individual without intruding upon others. 


Gum-elastic hammer-cloths are commonly made up with 
needles, of plated caoutchouc cloth or canvas, napped in imitation 
of broad-cloths. An article is also made up in the same way, of 
plated caoutchouc fabrics, and is used as a covering for the broad- 
cloth hammer-cloths heretofore made. When the article first 


described is used for this purpose, there is not only a great saving 
in the cost, but there is no occasion for the expense of a covering 
to protect them from wet. 


This article is manufactured of napped and embossed gum- 
elastic fabrics, equally ornamental, and much more durable than 
woven lace. 


These are made of plated and napped gum-elastic canvas, 
either at the gum-elastic factories or with the needle. The 
napped canvas presents a woolen surface on the inside, and 
forms a warm lining, it is most suitable for this purpose, although 
the plated fabrics not napped may be lined with other goods, 
like the leather boots which are commonly used. See plate xxi., 
fig. 1. 


These are manufactured in all respects like the coach boots 
before described, only they are made of a lighter description of 
materials. See plate xxi., fig. 2. 


Are made of plated and barred gum-elastic canvas felt. They 
are used for protecting from the weather the baggage placed 
upon the rack at the hinder part of the coach. See plate xxi., 
fig. 3. 



Are manufactured of plated canvas or strong corded and 
barred vulcanized fabrics, to suit the coach or vehicle for which 
they are intended, a suitable number of holes being made around 
the edge of the cover, by which it is secured over the baggage. 
See plate xxi., fig. 4. 


These have been manufactured in different ways, both stuffed 
and inflated with air, but they have not commonly been made 
substantial enough for this use. When properly made, they 
may be considered more durable than any other kind of cushion, 
and do not expose the health of the drivers like leather or cloth 
cushions, which are commonly saturated with water, or frozen 
from their exposure to the weather. 


See Chapter XXVIIL, Air-work. 


These cushions are manufactured of perforated gum-elastic 
fabrics, and stuffed with different materials. In a square 
cushion, five sides of the cushion are made of the above material, 
and one side water-proof, with the same fabric unperforated. 


The improvement consists in constructing it so that it will be 
cool in warm weather, and on being turned over, water-proof in 
storms. See plate , fig. . 


These are constructed of perforated gum-elastic fabrics, so 
as to open at the side to admit a cushion of any kind. They 
are otherwise made upon the plan of the cushions last described, 
so that one side of the cover is water-proof, while the other 
sides are porous. See plate , fig. 


These are made of vegetable leather, finished in imitation of 
patent japanned leather, and are designed to answer the purpose 
of japanned leather dashers. The material of which they are 
made can be furnished at much less expense than japanned 
leather, and the expense is lessened much more when the goods 
are cemented to the frame at the factories. The lustre upon 
these goods is not so hard, and is, therefore, more easily 
scratched than japanned leather, but the goods resist the action 
of the sun and weather much better, and without cracking. 


Are manufactured of caoutchouc whalebone, made in moulds 
in one entire piece. The cheapness and elegance of these whips 
give assurance of the success of the manufacture. 

Flexible team whips are described, Chapter XIX. See plate 

xxi., figs. 

bottom and on the sides, of either the window sash or casmg, 

from one-quarter to one-third of an inch in diameter, and com- 




Different parts of the mountings of coaches and carriages 
may be covered with India rubber enamel much more cheaply 
than with brass or silver plate, and may be made much more 
finished and beautiful than those japanned or covered with 


Are manufactured from caoutchouc ivory, connected with a 
flexible gum-elastic hose, covered with braid, velvet, or other 
stuffs. The use of this trumpet is to communicate with the 
driver from within the coach. See plate , fig. 


An improved sash may be made for coaches, cars, and om- 
nibuses, as well as dwellings, by means of a packing of gum- 
elastic sponge cord, drawn into a dove-tailed groove around the 
edge of the sash : this packing operates to keep out the dust and 
rain, to prevent the annoying rattling noise of vehicles, and also 
to keep the sash in the place when it is raised. See plate , 


An improved blind or screen is manufactured by the use of 
the finely perforated fabrics, which are designed both for dwell- 
ings and travelling vehicles. They operate to exclude the sun, 
dust, and insects, and to admit air and light. The improved 
sashes before described, may be constructed in this way, as well 
as common window screens and shutter blinds. See plate , 



This article is manufactured of caoutchouc whalebone, in one 
entire piece, made in moulds ; they are stiffened around the 
edge either by an extra thickness of whalebone, or an iron rim 
in the same manner as those heretofore made of leather. See 
plate , fig. 


Coach pannels may be advantageously veneered with caout- 
chouc whalebone, and when the supply of gum-elastic is suffi- 
cient for such uses, entire coach bodies may be made of the 
same material with still greater advantages. In this case, the 
mortices and the tenants which unite the parts will be made of 
cast iron, inserted while the gum is in a plastic state, and the 
parts are being moulded. 



Daguerreotype frames and boxes. Fancy boxes. Looking-glass and picture frames. Improved 
picture frames. Portable picture frames. Ornamental mouldings. Fancy baskets. Gimps. 
Coach lace. Banners and flags. Fringes and tassels. Pocket-books and wallets. Walking 
sticks, or canes. Meerschaums. Medalions. Cameos. Umbrella and cane heads. Plated 

Numerous fancy and ornamental articles may be made from 
the different vulcanized caoutchouc compounds, including the 
whole assortment that have heretofore been made of gutta 
percha in its native state. Some things made of the softer com- 
pounds, such as gimps, fringes, tassels, &c., are of less import- 
ance ; but it is obvious that those articles which are made of the 
hard compounds entirely, and also those which are enameled 
with these materials upon wood and metal, are better on many 
accounts than the same articles made of many other substances. 
The superiority of articles made of these materials consists, 

First, In their extreme hardness and susceptibility of polish, 
which is given them simply by the smoothness of the forms in 
which they are vulcanized. 

Second. They are not liable to crack or warp. 

Third, They are much harder, and stronger than the same 
articles made of wood, plaster, and other compounds, because 
they are made in one entire piece without seam. 

Fourth, They admit of the numerous styles of finish, like other 
substances, such as inlaying, embossing, &c., while the expense 
of manufacturing is less than that of the same things made in 
separate parts of wood, and other materials. It is sufficient to 
specify a few of the applications of the substances for these pur- 



Are manufactured of caoutchouc ivory and whalebone. The 
frames are much Hghter, stronger, and more durable than those 
made of wood. The tops, and also the bottoms of these boxes 
are made of one entire piece, in moulds ; they are stronger and 
more durable than those made of wood, covered with leather. 


Fancy boxes of all kinds, together with many small articles 
appertaining to them, are made of the hard caoutchouc com- 
pounds. Among these may be enumerated, dressing-boxes, work- 
boxes, snuff and tobacco boxes, &c. They are made plain and 
polished, or with little expense are beautifully inlaid and em- 


The same general remarks that have been made as regards 
the qualities of daguerreotype frames may be applied to looking- 
glass and picture frames. Another desirable quality of these 
frames is their lightness, as they can be made very thin owing 
to the great strength of the materials, and being manufactured 
in moulds, in one entire piece. 


This article is made of caoutchouc whalebone. It is manu- 
factured in the same way as other caoutchouc whalebone picture 
frames, with the addition of a revolving roll at the bottom, such as 
is sometimes used for rolling up coach curtains. This roll, which 
is self-acting by means of a spiral spring coiled within it, operates 
to roll up any fabric that is attached to it. It is placed behind 
the frame at the bottom, and the scroll upon it is drawn out by 
a tassel. It is proposed to make these scrolls of gum-elastic tis- 
sue or drapery, on which a catalogue or any description of the 
subject may be printed. See plate xxii., fig. 

* Invented by Mr. John Wood, Philadelphia. 




See Chapter XXIV. 


The superiority of these materials for ornamental mouldings, 
for furniture, &;c., compared with native gutta percha, is worthy 
of notice. 

These articles made of the caoutchouc whalebone are not only 
much lighter, but stronger than when made of the native gutta 
percha. They are not, like gutta percha, easily indented, and 
are not softened by a hot sun, or hot water, and will bear 
harder blows without indentation than brass or iron. 


Work-baskets and other fancy baskets are made of wicker- 
work, such as is described in Vol. I., and of whalebone thread 
instead of willow or cane, they are also made of thin sheets of 
perforated caoutchouc whalebone. The advantages in the use 
of these materials for baskets are, that they are very durable 
and are not injured by being crushed. 


Gimps are made of vellum cord ; black gimps may also be 
made of threads or strips of caoutchouc whalebone. 


See Chapter XXL 



Gum-elastic vellum and tissue are cheap and durable articles 
for banners and flags. The reader will be able to form his own 
judgment of the suitableness of the fabrics for this use, from the 
maps and plates of this work. 


These are made of gum-elastic cord, which is spun and 
twisted while the gum is in a soft state, with the same facility as 
common thread. 

The brilliancy of color is not in all cases equal to that of 
dyed silk, but it possesses the advantage of being unfading, and 
the goods are not readily injured by being soiled. Articles of 
this sort may, at least, be found useful for coach trimmings, &c. 


These are made of gum-elastic vellum in imitation of morocco, 
calf-skin, and Russia leather. Tissue is suitable for lining them, 
and for gussets, as well as for the gussets of pocket-books made 
of leather. These goods seem adapted to every variety of pocket- 
books and portfolios, which are subjected to usage that exposes 
them to friction and dampness ; such usage tends to destroy 
leather very soon, but makes comparatively little impression 
upon the gum-elastic fabrics. 

■ — ■ 0^;^ 



Although there are numerous kinds of natural wood that are 
both cheap and beautiful, and good enough for this purpose, yet 
the caoutchouc whalebone has been deemed so well adapted to 
this use on account of its toughness, hardness, and elasticity, 
that it is the first article of the hard compounds of which the 
.regular manufacture is commenced. These canes, which may 
be afforded cheaper than canes made of the finer kinds of 
wood, possess great advantages over them in point of lightness, 
strength, durability, smoothness of surface, beauty and variety 
of colors, and brightness of polish. 


The caoutchouc compounds are well-adapted to the manufac- 
ture of meerschaums. 

The caoutchouc enamel and ivory, when lined with porcelain 
or metal, is suitable for the bowls, and the elastic compound and 
whalebone are equally adapted for the tubes and stems of meer- 
schaums. See plate , fig. 


Medalions are made of caoutchouc ivory and whalebone, in 
exact imitation of bronze, both as to color and finish. These 
medalions are light, and have the hardness of marble ; they are 
less liable to injury in handling than either silver, gold, or 
bronze, and are moulded with equal facility as plaster, after 
which they are vulcanized. 



Cameos and broaches of different kinds are manufactured of 
caoutchouc ivory, which closely resemble those which are made 
of other materials. This substance has a decided advantage for 
these uses, such as lightness, strength, combination of colors and 
facility of manufacture ; but before deciding that there is any 
improvement to result from this application, it may be necessary 
to know whether a material can be adopted for ornaments 
which is not "dear bought and far fetched." 


The heads of umbrellas, canes, whips, and other articles are 
manufactured of caoutchouc ivory and whalebone with economy 
and advantage. They are moulded with the same facility as 
pressed horn, and are equally, if not more durable, than any 
other material from which such articles have heretofore been 
made. See plate , fig. 


Some ornamental, as well as numerous useful articles, are 
made according to an invention that is briefly described in Vol. 
I., page 111, of this work. It consists in plating or covering the 
articles with silver or gold foil, such as canes, walking sticks, 
whip heads, &c. Other articles, such as drinking cups, pitchers, 
trays, servers, &;c., are lined in the same way, upon the inside. 
In both cases the work is done by placing the foil upon the 
article where it is fastened by the pressure of the mould, when 
the article is vulcanized. 




Air-work. Self-inflating air-work. Cushions. Boat cushions. Ventilated boat cushions. Self- 
inflating cushions. Ventilated cushions. Invalids' cushions. Coach, chaise, and box cushions. 
Pillows. Self-inflating pillows. Ventilated pillows. Beds. Cape and poncho beds. Ventilated 
beds. Self-inflating beds. Hospital air-beds. Observations on life-preservers. Life-preservers. 
Pocket life-preservers. Cushion life-preservers. Pillow life-preservers, satchel hfe-preservers. 
Jacket life-preservers. Nautilus life-preservers. Self inflating nautilus. Life-preserving wear- 
ing apparel. Life-preserving bathing dresses. Balloons. Gasbags. Directions for mending 
air-work. ' 

This is a term which has been technically applied to all arti- 
ticles that are inflated with air. It was to such articles as beds, 
pillows, life-preservers, cushions, &c., that India rubber was, in 
the early stages of the manufacture, most commonly applied, 
and from them the greatest advantage was, at that time, ex- 
pected ; perhaps even more than from clothing, shoes, or sus- 
penders. Little benefit, hovv^ever, has been derived from air- 
work as yet, in comparison with other branches of this manufac- 
ture ; the demand for this class of articles has increased very 
little, if at all, since 1838, and notwithstanding the improvements 
made in the gum by the heating or vulcanizing process, air-work 
has not come into favor with the public as might have been an- 
ticipated. The reputation of this class of goods was nearly 
lost from the imperfect manufacture of the goods, before the 
heating or vulcanizing process was introduced, and from the 
use of metal tubes, to which gum-elastic will not adhere firmly. 

The cost of the articles, considering their liability to be lost, 
by the slightest damage or defect causing leakage, or escape of 
the air, has been quite too great. This expense has been owing 
partly to a limited demand, but very much to the complexity of 
their construction, and the quantity of materials necessary to 


make them, as may be seen by any one who has an opportunity 
to examine the internal construction of a bed, or cushion, of the 
common kind. The odor of the goods, and their being uncom- 
fortably warm, have presented, in addition to the cost, the 
great objections to their use. 

By the use of the gum-elastic tube, which is cemented in so 
as to form part and parcel of the article, the danger of leakage in 
that part is completely removed ; and in the ventilated air- work, 
the objection of warmth is wholly removed. By the new 
method of manufacture by machinery, in the use of the laminated 
fibrous fabrics, an entire change in the manufacture of air- work 
is anticipated. The peculiar properties of these fabrics, and 
method of manufacture alluded to, lead to the conclusion that 
cheaper and better articles will be produced. And it may be 
hoped that in consequence of the improvements here noticed, 
and the reduction of the cost of the articles, they will eventually 
come into as general use as was at first anticipated. 

The mechanical construction of air-work is chiefly of three 
kinds. That which was first made, and was one of the earliest 
manufactures of gum-elastic ; ventilated air- work, which has 
been described. Vol. I., page , and the self-inflating air- work, 
described as follows : 


This is a style of work, some specimens of which were made 
by the writer as early as 1838, but it could not then be made to 
any advantage, in consequence of the gum peeling off" the woven 
cloths, and causing the compartments to pull apart, and owing 
to their want of suflftcient firmness. In consequence of the 
improvements described in this work, it is believed that this class 
of air- work may now be made with advantage. 

It is somewhat more expensive and difficult to manufacture 
than other kinds of air- work described in this chapter, but it is 


much more convenient on account of its being easily filled, 
simply by pulling it open. The labor of inflating air-work, and 
particvdarly beds, whether with a bellows or the mouth, has ever 
been found a great objection to it. This objection does not 
apply to the work here described, as it can be filled instantly 
when needed ; and when not in use it miay be packed away in 
a very small compass. The method of constructing this article, 
although it might appear very complicated, is indeed very 
simple. Every compartment is first formed separately. A 
sufficient number of them to form the article are next cemented 
together firmly, about half the distance from the centre to the 
outer edge. The different compartments are each inflated by 
separate tubes, or any number of them are inflated by one tube, 
when they are so constructed that the air may pass from one to 
the other.* 

Thin sheets of India rubber whalebone board are cemented in 
between the cells, which, if they should become leaky, render 
them more firm and safe when in use, by keeping them from 
collapsing even. 

This contrivance now makes this article available, which was 
before useless for the want of firmness in the cloth to cause the 
article to inflate itself It also gives the article that degree ot 
stiffiiess which causes it to resist the pressure of the water, and 
prevents a leak from rendering it unsafe, which would cause one 
of the common kind to collapse and sink immediately. 


These were among the articles first manufactured of the 
Mcintosh fabrics, both in Europe and the United States, but 
neither these or the different kinds that have since been made, 
have been much used in comparison with what might have been 
expected, considering the length of time since they were first 

* The life-preserver being more or less safe according to the number of cells inflated by each 


introduced. The reasons have been, undoubtedly, then' expen- 
siveness, then- liabihty to be damaged, so that the air would 
escape from them, and their being uncomfortably warm. 

It is believed that, by the new method of manufacture from 
the fibrous fabrics, they will now be furnished at extremely 
low prices. The objection of warmth is entirely removed in the 
ventilated articles, so that they are even cooler than other stuffed 
leather or cloth cushions, and the risk of damage to those 
filled with air, need hardly be considered, since when they are 
not made so as to be stuffed through the tubes, they may be 
cut open underneath and stuffed, so that they will answer all the 
purposes of leather and cloth cushions, after they are damaged. 
Those inflated with air are often found very comfortable for 
invalids. Their superiority is most apparent when used for 
riding, either in coaches or wagons. A journey will be found 
much less fatiguing with them than with any other cushion. 
Those made of the light fabrics, and the self-inflating, are de- 
signed chiefly for this purpose, as they may be packed in so 
very small a compass that they may be carried in the pocket 
for occasional use. Settees, as well as chair cushions, especially 
those that are made in separate compartments, may be highly 
recommended for use on board of steamers and vessels, since, 
when trimmed for the purpose, with suitable fastenings, they will 
form infallible life-preservers. The common patterns, inflated 
by a single tube, are represented in plate xxvii., figs. 1 and 2. 
Those made in separate compartments, and inflated by a num- 
ber of tubes, are represented by fig. 3. 


Are made of plated canvas or elastic knit goods, and inflated 
by one tube, as represented by plate xxvii., fig. 4, or like fig. 5, 
with a self-acting valve tube in each compartment, in order that 
they may be stuffed, if desired. In case of accident, these 


cushions will form an excellent life-buoy, for which reason they 
should not be so firmly attached to the boat as to prevent their 
being used in case of accident. 


These are manufactured of quilted fabrics, perforated between 
the compartments or cells, as represented, plate xxvii., fig. 6. 

This style of work is particularly adapted to boats, for the 
reason that the water is immediately drained off from them. 


Self-inflating cushions may be best made of plated fabrics, 
and may be recommended chiefly on account of their compact- 
ness when collapsed, and of the ease with which they are filled like 
other self-inflating articles. When they are made with the self- 
acting valve tube for each compartment, in case they become 
damaged so as not to retain air, they may be stuffed through 
the tubes with any suitable material, such as ground cork, 
chopped gum, elastic sponge, curled hair, or moss, in which case 
they will answer all the purposes of a stuffed leather cushion. 
See plate xxvii., fig, 7. 


These are made of the quilted fabrics, to be inflated with 
one tube, as represented by fig. 8, plate xxvii., or with a tube for 
each separate row of cells, as represented by fig. 9. Cushions 
of this pattern are not liable to the common objections to air 
cushions, that of being uncomfortably warm, and rolling about. 




See Chapter 


See Chapter 


The style of pillow represented by fig. 10, is also one of 
the articles first made in England and the United States, of the 
Mcintosh fabrics. When made of the plated fabrics, and inflated 
with the gum-elastic self-acting tube, this is the cheapest of the 
various kinds of cushions. 

If inclosed in a pillow-case, and trimmed with suitable fasten- 
ings when used on shipboard, they may also be used as life- 
preservers. The chief objections to this pattern are their 
warmth, and their liability to roll about. 


Like other self-inflating air-work, these are manufactured to 
be inflated with one tube, or with a tube to each compartment, 
they are designed to be used on shipboard as pillows, and if 
required, as life-preservers ; although, like the kind before de- 
scribed, they are objectionable as pillows on account of their 
warmth. See plate xxvii., fig. 11. 



The objection to gum-elastic pillows, on account of their 
warmth and rolling motion, is almost wholly, if not entirely re- 
moved by the invention represented in plate xxvii., fig. 12. When 
folded, it is used for a pillow ; when opened, as represented, 
plate , fig. , it is designed to be used as a life-preserver 

when required. This may be considered one of the safest kinds 
of life-preservers, especially when stuffed with cork or curled 
hair, on account of affording protection from injuries to the 


The air bed, represented by fig. , plate , is one of the 

articles first made of the Mc Intosh manufacture ; and when 
made of the plated fabrics, after the method described, page , 
is the cheapest article of air beds ; although the same pattern, 
represented by fig. , with a tube for each compartment, is 
much more secure from being damaged, and is not much more 


These are manufactured of the improved air and quilted 
fabrics, described Vol. I., page 

When each row of compartments or cells in this poncho, 
which are usually from thirty to fifty, are inflated by a separate 
valve tube, at least two-thirds of them must be damaged before 
the bed will be unsafe in the water. 


Where the cells, in all about six hundred, are stuffed with 
curled hair, each being separated from the other, two-thirds of 
these may be rent or damaged before the bed will become un- 
safe as a life-preserver. See plate , fig. . 


These are also made either of the air- work or quilted fabrics, 
and perforated, as represented in plate , fig. . Their chief 
recommendation is that they are not like other gum-elastic beds, 
uncomfortably warm in hot weather, and when the rows of cells 
are inflated by separate tubes, and especially when stuffed with 
curled hair, they are more secure from being damaged than any 
other gum-elastic bed. 


These are manufactured like other articles of self-inflating air- 
work, and are inflated either with one tube, or with separate 
tubes for each cell or compartment. 

On account of the ease with which they are filled, and the 
certainty of their retaining the air when the cells are inflated 
separately, they are superior to other air beds for persons who 
are travelling, when they are not certain of finding beds, or are 
not satisfied with the quality of those they do find. 


See Chapter 



In addition to the circumstances that have been noticed, w^hich 
have tended to prevent India rubber air-work from coming into 
general use, there are others w^hich have operated against life- 
preservers in particular. 

These articles, in whatever form they are made, are in no 
case to be depended on as infallible life-preservers, when simply 
inflated with air in one apartment, as they have commonly been 
made. The self-inflating life-preservers, which are kept dis- 
tended by braces of whalebone board, and the nautilus life- 
preservers, are much the safest. The common kinds, also, of 
different patterns, particularly those which are made in two or 
more compartments, with separate tubes, (as they may now 
be affbrded at extremely low prices,) are useful either as 
swimming belts or life-preservers, and may save many lives, if 
they are not too much depended on, to the neglect of other 
means of safety ; but if they are, as many lives may be lost as 
saved by the common kinds, filled with air only. It is well 
known that some lives have been saved by them ; an instance, 
however, has come to the knowledge of the writer, of the cap- 
tain of a ship who ran the risk of leaving his vessel, depending 
on a life-preserver, and was lost, while those who remained in 
the vessel were saved. 

The value of an article depends chiefly upon the certainty 
of its answering the purpose for which it is designed. When 
it does so, and the purpose is a good one, if the price is reason- 
able, the article is sure to come into general use. 

An instance which enforces this idea is found in the fire-proof 
safe. Notwithstanding its expensiveness, it has, in a few years, 
come to be considered among merchants an article of necessity ; 
whereas, although it is twenty years since life-preservers were 
first introduced, yet they do not come into favor as was expected, 
nor as they would have done if they had really been what they 


are called, " Life-Preservers." Notwithstanding the price has 
been reduced to one-half what it was, yet the demand and sale 
of them is not half so great as it was fifteen years ago. 

One great difficulty in making life-preservers, as well as every 
other description of air-work, to answer the purpose for which 
it is designed, has been the impossibility of uniting India rubber 
to metal, and none but metal tubes have, heretofore, been used 
for inflating them. Although when first made with these tubes 
they may be tight, very often, after a little wear, the air escapes 
between the gum and the metal. By the invention of the gum- 
elastic tube, (which is also self-acting, and much more safe on 
that account, and which can be made for a trifle in comparison 
with the metal tube,) this difficulty with metal tubes is completely 

By removing the defects which have been enumerated, by the 
improvements treated of in this work, it is hoped that gum-elas- 
tic life-preservers, which are really of great value, if well made 
and properly used, may be made great blessings to mankind. 


The kinds of life-preservers with which the market has been 
chiefly supplied, are represented by figs. 1, 2 and 3, in plate xxvii. 
They are less safe than any of the other patterns that are 
represented in the plate. The article represented by fig. 4, is 
after the same pattern as fig. 1, made in the same way, except 
that the compartments do not communicate, and they have each 
a separate tube. This arrangement, which is a consequence of 
the invention of the self-acting gum-elastic tube, makes life-pre- 
servers, filled with air only, comparatively safe, although they 
are more troublesome to inflate than the self-inflating air-work. 
The metal tubes formerly used would not only be too heavy, but 
quite too expensive for such an arrangement with many tubes, 
even if there was no other objection to their use. 



This article is made as represented by fig. , plate xxvii., 

and is designed to be put in cloth garments, such as vests, coats, 
and cloaks. When the compartments are inflated by separate 
tubes, they may be considered quite safe, and the more so, be- 
cause they are protected from damage by the garment. They 
may be considered the cheapest, most unobjectionable, and con- 
venient of all life-preservers which are filled with air only, as 
they are always at hand with the garment, and may be worn 
Sufficiently inflated to save a person from drowning, when there 
is any apprehension of danger, without attracting the observa- 
tion of others. This may be deemed an important recom- 
mendation, as many persons, and particularly sailors, would 
sooner be exposed to drowning than to ridicule from wearing a 
bag of wind, although in the form of a life-preserver. 


This is the same article, designed for ship's use, described as a 
cushion when folded, page . When quilted or inflated by 
separate tubes for each compartment, it is among the safest of 


This is another of the articles designed for ship's use, and 
described as a pillow, page . When unrolled, put on over 
the head, and fastened around the person, this is also one of the 
safest of life-preservers, because it affords the best protection to 
the person from blows or injuries. 




This article is the same as that described as a double satchel, 
or travelling-bag, page . When filled with clothing, or in- 

flated with air, it answers the same purposes as the two kinds 
before described, as a life-preserver. 


This form of life-preserver has been introduced to some extent 
in the United States. 

When the article is made in separate compartments, and in- 
flated in separate tubes, it may also be considered a good and 
safe one. An improvement has recently been made in these 
jackets by perforations between the compartments, hke the ven- 
tilated cushion life-preservers. See plate , fig. . 


The nautilus life-preserver, which is represented by fig. , 
was patented in the United States in 18 . It consists of a spiral 
wire, covei'ed with gum-elastic fabrics, in one apartment, but is 
somewhat objectionable on account of its bulk. This article 
may be considered a safe life-preserver, but not so safe as the 
self-inflating nautilus. 


This is manufactured like the self-inflating beds and cushions 
before described, except that the stiffenings between the com- 





partments are made of rigid whalebone board, instead of flexible 
caoutchouc whalebone. 

When each compartment of this nautilus is inflated by a 
separate tube, it is not only one of the safest, but also one of the 
most compact of life-preservers. 


See Chapter 


For descriptions of these, see Chapter , and diagrams, 

plate , figs. 18, J 9 and 20. 


It has often been suggested to the inventor by others, that the 
vulcanized fabrics would answer well for balloons. As yet there 
has been no trial of the article upon a large scale, but from re- 
peated trials upon a small one with globes, there is every reason 
to suppose that the corded gum-elastic vellum would answer 
well for this use ; and if so, it would certainly be stronger, and 
cost less by half than oiled silk. The cost of a silk fabric, coated 
with gum-elastic for this purpose, would be about the same as 
that of oil silk, although being cemented instead of stitched, the 
workmanship of the gum-elastic balloons would be much the 
most complete, and cost much less than that of the oil silk, as 
they are now made. 




When any article of air-work is damaged, the place where 
the air escapes may often be detected by applying it to the face 
or ear. When the article is fully inflated, a surer way is to 
wet it upon the outside, or immerse it in water, when, on 
being pressed with the hand, the leak will commonly be found 
by the bubble which is caused. A more searching trial is, to 
fill the article wholly or in part with water, and press it. The 
escape of air must be very slow, and the leak of little or no con- 
sequence, not to be found in this way. 

When found, a few drops of gun cotton varnish, or what is 
called collodion, applied to the spot, will often effectually stop a 
small leak. A larger leak may sometimes be stopped with a few 
drops of hot sealing-wax, or shoemakers' wax. The above are 
recommended only as expedients where the vulcanizing cement 
is not conveniently to be found. If the rent is large, it should 
first be drawn up with a needle and thread, and the vulcanizing 
cement applied in two or three alternate coats, each of which 
dry in an ordinary temperature of a warm room in from fifteen 
to twenty minutes ; the part which is coated with the cement 
should afterwards be exposed to the rays of the sun for about 


half a day, for the purpose of removing the adhesiveness from 
the cement. 

Another expedient for making damaged air-work useful, if not 
more valuable than before, particularly cushions and beds, is to 
cut the cells or compartments as neatly as possible on the under 
side, and stuff them with curled hair, moss, or any other suitable 
material ; on the cuts being closed again, as above described, the 
articles will answer all the uses of those which are stuffed in the 
first manufacture. 



Umbrellas. Parasols. Bank notes. Portable picture frames. Transparencies. Money belts. 
Tape measures. Wheel-barrow tire. Wheel-barrow shoulder-straps. Covered iron furniture. 
Umbrella frames. Bedstead castors and shoes. Chair .shoes. Cartmen's wallets. Ox-buttons. 
Nose baskets. Grafting bandages. 

The articles which are described in this chapter are such as 
are considered not to belong to any particular class of articles 
more than another, for which reason they are described as mis- 

The diagrams which are given of some of these articles are 
interspersed among the different plates, as noticed in the descrip- 


Umbrellas were made of muslin coated with India rubber, by 
the Roxbury Company, as early as 1837; but owing to the ad- 
hesiveness and decomposition of the unvulcanized gum, the 
manufacture was abandoned. 

The writer has ever considered this as one of the most ap- 
propriate uses of gum-elastic, and for years past has occasionally 
made an umbrella for trial, and at every trial he has been con- 
firmed in hi^ opinion of the utility of this invention, though 



some modification of the fabric for this use has, until now, seemed 
desirable. The recent improvement of the fibrous fabrics will 
greatly facilitate this branch of the business, both on account of 
the cheapness and lightness of the material. 

Umbrellas are made either of tissue, corded tissue, or plated 
muslin. The frames are covered with the scraps of the ma- 
terial. The covers being cemented together, are then cemented 
on to the frame, quite to the tips. By this means a large um- 
brella is obtained with a small frame. The fabric being quite 
non-elastic, the edge of the cover remains straight from tip to 
tip, by which means the curve which is unavoidable in cotton 
and silk umbrellas, is prevented. There are at least four inches 
gained in the spread or diameter of the umbrella ; in other 
words, a twenty-eight inch frame umbrella made from these 
fabrics, is as large as a thirty inch covered with cotton or silk. 
Still more may be gained in the size of the umbi^ella, by extend- 
ing the cover by a stay of non-elastic compound, beyond the tips 
of the frame. It should be understood, however, that when it is 
preferred, the same form and symmetry may be given to these 
as to cotton or silk umbrellas, by cutting with a curve, the edges 
of the sections of which the umbrella is made. Each seam is 
cemented to the bow its whole length, which gives additional 
strength and firmness to the cover, and fastens it more securely 
to the frame than is ordinarily done by stitching. 

It is needless to say that these fabrics are impervious to water, 
and therefore umbrellas made from them form a complete shelter 
from rain. They are very durable, and do not absorb water to 
be carried within doors, like cotton or silk. 

If there is any one purpose to which gum-elastic is adapted 
without objection, it is doubtless that of umbrellas. 

BANK NOTES. ' 277 


This may be considered too fanciful an article to be manufac- 
tured from these fabrics at the present day, and yet it may be 
claimed that the drapery tissue, and corded tissue, and coated 
florence, are fine and delicate enough to answer this use. It, 
however, remains to be decided whether these fabrics are suffi- 
ciently freed from the odor of the gum to be used for this pur- 
pose. The parasol or shade, which is made without a frame, to 
be inflated with air through a caoutchouc ivory handle, with a 
valve at the end of the handle, is noticed simply as a curiosity, 
without any pretensions as to its practical utility. See plate 
. fig- • 


Specimens of bank notes have been made upon tissue, which 
are excellent imitations of tissue paper bank notes, and which, 
in many respects, and particularly as regards counterfeiting, 
possess great advantages over paper. The first cost of this 
material is greater than that of bank note paper, and whether it 
is an application, all things considered, that will obtain the ap- 
probation of banking institutions, is a subject for discussion. 
That they would be highly approved by the public if issued, 
there is little doubt, for the following reasons. Even if the 
secret of their manufacture were known, it would be an exceed- 
ingly difficult matter to counterfeit them. The countei-feiter 
would have an additional trade to learn, more confederates to 
employ, and would be much exposed in the manufacture to de- 
tection, by the chemical processes that are used, the fumes of 
which it would be difficult to conceal. In regard to cleanliness, 
these notes would possess immense advantage. Few substances 
are less objectionable on account of odor than these notes. 
They can be cleansed as easily as glass, by washing or boiling, 
without injury to the tissue or the engraving, which defies 
the powers of chemistry either to extract the ink or to alter the 


signature. Bank notes in the United States are kept in circu- 
lation until they are completely worn out ; they pass through 
hands of every hue, and through pockets of all grades, until 
they acquire an odor that would be quite insufferable in any 
other article, to those who have any regard to cleanliness. 
Should we not be as particular in respect to the cleanliness of 
money as to other things ? The indifference of the public on 
this subject can hardly be accounted for, except upon the suppo- 
sition of its being taken for granted, that there is no remedy. 
Notwithstanding the first cost of these notes being more, it is 
believed in the end they wall be cheaper, on account of their 
greater durability. 


Gum-elastic pictures, prints, and engravings are made with 
portable frames of the same material, which may be either gilded 
and bronzed to imitate wooden frames, or colored in imitation 
of different kinds of wood, all of which is done very cheaply. 
For further description of this kind of frame and its uses, see 
framed maps, Chapter I. 


These are made of gum-elastic tissue. There may not only be 
a great saving of expense in the substituting the tissue for silk or 
canvas, for transparencies, but the work may also be lithographed 
or colored, in a style highly superior to that in which they are 
commonly executed. 



These are made of coated gum-elastic vellum or coated 
florence, with the mouth so constructed that they may be made 
air and water tight, by which means papers and bank notes may 
be kept safe and dry ; and if well filled, or inflated by means of 
the small tube which is attached, they answer in good part the 
purpose of life-preservers. 


These may be cheaply made of gum-elastic vellum, printed in 
the piece, and cut in strips. Besides the advantage of durability, 
they possess another, that of being quite inelastic. The desir- 
ableness of a good cheap article of this sort, is best known to 
carpenters and tailors. 


This is an English invention for preventing the noise of 
wheel-barrows in ware-houses, at railroad stations, &c. For this 
purpose, a rim of vulcanized gum-elastic is fastened around the 
tire of the wheel-barrow. 



Are formed of a strap made of gum-elastic plated fabrics, 
with a piece of stayed gum-elastic compound, from two to four 
inches in length, inserted in each end of the strap. The advan- 
tage gained by this, is to relieve the laborer of the jar of the 
barrow, by the elasticity of the strap. 


Iron furniture, such as bedsteads, chairs, settees, &c., has long 
been made, and although stronger, and evidently possessing 
many advantages over wooden furniture, it has obtained favor 
but slowly with the public. 

This may be owing in a great measure to the forbidding aspect 
of the material, and to the idea one has of its repulsive properties, 
coldness and hardness ; and possibly more or less to the idea 
that the bedsteads are dangerous to sleep on in a thunder- 

It is here proposed to make the article in the usual manner, 
either of wrought, cast, or malleable iron, or in parts as suggested 
by the diagrams, plate , and to cover them first with cotton 
wadding, and afterwards with vellum, colored in imitation of 
mahogany or rosewood. 

Iron furniture is also enameled with caoutchouc enamel, in 
imitation of rosewood and mahogany, and various ether styles 
which surpass them in hardness and finish. 

tide, than in the use of furniture made of wood, especially where 
the gum-elastic shoes or castors are used. 



Some recent experiments in the manufacture of umbrella 
frames from India rubber whalebone and ivory, give the writer 
assurance that this is a valuable application of this substance. 
An improvement is contemplated, and practically tested, so far 
as to make specimens of umbrella frames, by making use of gum- 
elastic in all the parts. The very great difficulty of making sub- 
stantial joints with such slight materials as the frame of an um- 
brella is made of, must be apparent to all. The extremely low 
price of this description of work, will hardly allow the manufac- 
turer to make them as carefully as they might be made. It 
would not be possible to make them so that they would not easily 
break or get out of repair, after the rivets and joints become 
rusty. The experience of almost every one has taught them, 
that loss and annoyance is the frequent consequence of these 

An improved umbrella is made by the use of caoutchouc 
whalebone instead of whalebone for the bows, elastic compound 
for the joints instead of wire and metal, India rubber fabrics for 
the covers, and gum-elastic ivory for the sticks. 


The metal part of these castors is made of the common form, 
with the difference that the wheel has a groove, into which a 
ring or tire of elastic compound is fitted, as represented in the 
plate , fig. . Shoes are also made for bedsteads, like the 
chair shoes hereafter described. The design of both the above 
articles is to prevent noise and the wear of carpets. 



Are made of gurn-elastic sponge, or elastic compound, in the 
same manner as hollow ware ; in this way an elastic ball or foot 
of any required shape is made, that is fitted into a socket which 
fits the foot of the chair, as repi'esented in the plate , fig. 1 
and 2. 

The socket may be made of brass or iron, or of caoutchouc 
ivory. When made of the latter material, it is attached to, 
and forms a part of the shoe. 

The improvement consists in preventing noise and the wear 
of carpets. Another consideration, which will probably be 
deemed of importance by many, is perhaps worthy of notice. 
It is a well-known fact, that gum-elastic is one of the best non- 
conductors of electricity. It is so completely so, that a person 
having on India rubber shoes, sitting upon a chair of this kind, 
or lying upon a bed provided with similar shoes, need have little 
apprehension of danger from lightning. 


Are made of vegetable leather. They are commonly attached 
between the two front stakes of the cart, and used by cartmen 
as a sort of portfolio or pocket, for containing papers, or other 
light articles, which it is desirable to keep dry. 


These are made of gum-elastic sponge, in the same manner as 
hollow ware, as a substitute for the metal article heretofore 


The advantages of this article are obvious. They may be 
made much larger, and being lighter than those made of metal, 
they w^ili not cause the horns of cattle to drop in their growth ; 
and being soft, there will be less danger of vicious cattle goring 
one another, or their owners with them. 


Nose baskets are made of wicker-work, and may be suggested 
to the notice of those who are curious, or careful about the ac- 
commodations for their horses and cattle. 


This article is made of heavy gum-elastic drapery, and is in- 
tended to keep the clay moist as well as secure, which is placed 
about grafts in grafting trees. In grafting trees for this purpose, 
there should be a large proportion of lampblack, or carbon, com- 
pounded with the gum, in order to make it stand well the effects 
of the sun and weather. 



Buttons. Suspenders, or braces. Improved suspender. Suspender ends. Ladies' elastics. 
Improved ladies' elastics. Stays, corsets, and braces. Pantaloon straps. Hat pockets. Hat 
covers. Hat and cap springs. Foot holders. Shoe springs. Improved shoe springs. Vest 
springs. Glove springs. 

These appendages consist chiefly of a variety of springs, 
designed or arranged for the comfortable adjustment of wearing 
apparel. Particular attention has formerly been paid in Europe 
to the manufacture of these articles from the native gum, and 
the mechanical execution of them has therefore been brought to 
a higher state of perfection there than most other articles of 
gum-elastic. They are, however, fast being superseded, both in 
Europe and America, by articles of the same kind, (together 
with many others recently invented,) and made from the vul- 
canized gum-elastic. 


Finding caoutchouc compounds applicable to buttons, a branch 
of business which the writer supposed he had long ago relin- 
quished altogether, his early associations are awakened, and 
were it not a digression, he would be strongly inclined to write 
a lengthy article on the art of button making, which, with many 
interesting particulars connected with it, would aflbrd ample 
materials for a volume. As a branch of industry and merchan- 
dise, few persons consider the extent or importance of it, or that 
this trifling article is indispensable for comfort and convenience, 
making a large item of necessary expenditure, as well as that 

^ ^ =J 


which is connected with fashionable display. It is curious to 
observe of what variety of materials buttons are already made, 
viz., wood, bone, horn, ivory, shell, pearl, tin, iron, steel, brass, 
britannia, gold and silver plate, and sometimes of gold, silver, 
and precious stones, together with combinations of the above 
materials and silk, linen, woolen, and cotton threads and stuffs. 
Added to all these, caoutchouc is deserving of notice for buttons. 
Its water-proof quality resisting the effects of boiling water, also 
the economy and facility with which this material is worked, 
recommend it for this use, particularly for the dead eye and 
cheaper kinds ; and also for the more expensive kinds, which are 
cheaply made from this material in imitation of bronze, metal, 
figured or plain lasting, silks, and other stuffs. 


This is an article, the sale of which is divided among a great 
variety of kinds. 

Vulcanized gum-elastic thread has recently been applied to 
numerous kinds of suspenders, which have heretofore been made 
of the native gum thread ; as well as to other kinds that have 
recently been invented, such as the shirred suspender, and those 
made of vulcanized gum-elastic fabrics, felt, and other webs with 
elastic ends. This is one of those articles with which fashion 
has much to do, and the choice among the different kinds de- 
pends so much upon the fancy of the wearer, as well as upon the 
realutility of the article, that it may be considered presumptuous 
in any one to assert absolutely what kind is best. Among them 
all, the writer thinks the kinds most deserving particular notice, 
are those represented in plate xviii., figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Figs. 1 
2 and 3 may be considered most complete and unobjectionable, 
among the most expensive kinds. The webs of these are firm 
and unyielding, which may be the most fanciful and expensive, 
or plain and substantial ; in either case the most complete 
elasticity of the suspender is in a simple and cheap manner 



obtained from the ends, both back and front, which are made of 
vulcanized gum-elastic cord, about one-fourth of an inch in diam- 
eter, braided over with sewing-silk, or the best cotton thread. 


Two other kinds of suspenders have been recently invented 
by the writer, which he supposes may, all things considered, be 
found cheapest and best for the greatest number, the first de- 
scribed is represented in plate xviii., by figs. 4 and 6. The webs 
are made of elastic vulcanized fabrics, with two or more button- 
holes cut in the back ends, and two or more gum-elastic buttons 
or studs attached upon the front ends. The object of this in- 
vention is to furnish a suspender without buckle's. Suspender 
ends with buckles may be used with these, as with other sus- 
penders, yet those made of elastic compound stayed goods, 
represented by figs. 6 and 7, are specially designed for them, 
and when used with studs, or gum-elastic buttons cemented on 
them, the suspenders are made without a stitch. The goods 
are printed in the piece ; and when cut up and the buttons are 
attached, and the button-holes punched, the suspenders are 
finished. It may be objected that they cannot be taken up or 
let out so exactly as with the buckle. This objection is found 
to be unfounded on trial, the end being so very elastic that a 
slight difference in length is not observed by the wearer ; be- 
sides, where the buttons or button-holes are placed at distances 
apart, especially if two or more button-holes are cut at the back 
end, the variations of length can be made as great, and with as 
little inconvenience, as with the buckle, where the means of 
lengthening and shortening exist only in front. 

The other improved suspender alluded to is made of plated 
porous caoutchouc fabrics, printed in the piece. Strips of elas- 
tic compound, of from one to two inches in width, are cemented 
into the piece across it, at such distances apart as will give a 




spring for each suspender. When this fabric is cut up longitu- 
dinally, in strips about two inches wide, one end of these strips 
being split about five inches, and the button-holes being punched, 
the suspenders are finished. See plate , fig. 

The other article of improved suspenders or braces is made of 
woolen felt, in the first stage of its manufacture into felt cloths, 
before it is sufficiently fulled for the ordinary kind of cloth, or 
while it is mid-way between the fleece, or bat of wool, and felt. 
In this state a sheet of gum-elastic is forced into the felt fleece, 
and while it is passing through the calenders, with the sheet of 
gum, the fibres of the wool are all drawn one way ; consequently, 
when cut up cross-wise, the felt admits of almost as great ten- 
sion as the gum, and when cut up, the suspender which is 
made is evenly and pleasantly elastic the whole length of it, 
and is finished when the button-holes are cut, as represented 
figs. 8 and 9. 

Before being cut up the goods are perforated. They are 
beautifully ornamented with the same facility as those before 


In the economy and comfort to be derived from gum-elastic 
suspenders, much depends upon the ends, which are now more 
than formerly made and put in the market a separate article 
from the suspender. And what is altogether in favor of these 
elastic ends is, that they can be attached to the cheapest, as well 
as to the most expensive and fanciful sorts. However cheap 
and unyielding the web may be, if only a list or piece of cloth, 
it will form a suspender sufficiently elastic, when the elastic end 
is attached ; and in case of damage or loss, the end can be re- 
placed at a trifling expense. 

The ends represented by figs. 10 and 11, plate xviii., are made of 
stayed compound ; 12 and 13 are made of perforated stayed com- 
pound. Those represented by figs. 15 and 16 are made of vulcan- 


ized gum-elastic cord, braided over with silk or cotton, the same 
as those attached to the braces, figs. 1, 2, 3, and 4. 


This, like the gentlemen's suspenders, is also an article, the sale 
of which is divided among a great variety of kinds. The article 
represented, plate xviii., fig. 17, is made of various patterns and 
styles well known to the public. The kind now in common use 
consists of a ring of elastic compound, covered with silk or ribbon. 
They may be made by any person from the elastic bands that 
are sold at the shops, by fastening a ribbon around a bottle, or 
tumbler, or any other article, either round or square, of the right 
size, then place the elastic ring over this, and extend another 
ribbon over them both ; stitch the two ribbons together on each 
side of the ring, and the elastic is complete. 


Those which are represented in the plate, figs. 18 and 19, are 
called improved, on account of their durability, and the very 
small cost at which they may be produced, and because they 
may be made as fancifully as can be desired with little expense. 

The article represented by fig. 2 is made of the same materials 
as the suspender described, plate xviii,, figs. 8 and 9. The felt is 
perforated and printed in the piece. When cut up and the 
clasps attached, the elastics are finished. 

Ladies' elastics are yet more cheaply made in another man- 
ner, and by many they are preferred to those with clasps, by 
cementing them in the form of an endless band, in which case 
the clasp is dispensed with, and they are put on by being slipped 
over the foot. See plate xviii., figs. 20 and 21. 



Since the invention of the shiiTcd goods, and perforated stayed 
compound, they have been applied to stays, corsets, and bi'aces, 
that were formerly in use, besides which they appear to have 
been the occasion of the invention of a great number of new ar- 
ticles in this line of manufacture. Without pretending to decide 
upon the particular merits of the different kinds, diagrams are 
given in plate xviii. of a few of them, the use of which most per- 
sons will no doubt understand without further descriptions. 


These were formerly made, both in Europe and America, and 
were among the first appendages of wearing apparel that were 
made of the native gum-elastic. They were at first cut from the 
native gum over-shoe. The vulcanized article has been found 
much more durable and useful for this purpose ; they are made 
after many devices, many of which are ingenious and deserving 
of notice on that account. 

The common patterns are represented, plate xviii., figs. 22 and 
23 ; button-holes being cut in number 21 ; 22 is stitched to the 


Are a recent invention among hatters, made by shirring the 
double lining of the hat, near the bottom, with an elastic ring, so 
that a convenient receptacle is formed for gloves, letters, &c. 
This appendage, of however doubtful utility, is more safe than 
carrving the same articles loose in the hat. 





Are made of tissue, or corded tissue, and are designed as a 
substitute for the oil silli covers formerly used. When made 
with a cape as represented, plate xix., fig. , they answer the 
double purpose of a hat or cap cover, and a storm cape. 


These are made of a gum-elastic cord or tape, either covered 
or not. Their use is to prevent the hat or cap from blowing 
off. See plate xix., Chapter XIX. 


This is a recent invention,* intended to prevent persons slip- 
ping on the ice. It consists of a ring or band, elastic upon the 
top, and non-elastic in the part which comes underneath the 
foot. In the upper side of the under part, small pins are inserted 
to make it hold to the foot, and larger pins are inserted on the 
bottom to cause it to hold on the ice. 


Gum-elastic shoe springs were first applied to shoes, and 
patented in the United States in 18 .f They were made by 
stitching cords of native gum between two cloths. Shirred 
goods were applied to this use as early as 1844. Subsequently, 
a license was disposed of by the writer to Mr. H. H. Day, and 
since that time shirred goods have been applied extensively to 
shoe springs. 

* Doct. Charles Stearns, Springfield, Mass. 
t Messrs. Dupont and Hyatt, New York. 



These are made of napped or embossed stayed compound, per- 
forated as represented in plate , fig. ; or they may be cut 
as needed, of any size or pattern, from the perforated knit goods, 
which are made very elastic one way, and non-elastic the other. 
These springs may be made to match the shoes with which they 
are worn, by napping in imitation of cloth, or embossing in imi- 
tation of any kind of leather. Their chief superiority over the 
shirred goods shoe springs, consists in cheapness and neatness, 
and beside, they do not sweat the foot. 

There has been some objection made to the shirred spring, on 
account of its sweating the foot ; this objection does not apply 
to shoe springs made of perforated stayed goods, or perforated 
knit goods. 

The importance of this small article, the shoe spring, is but 
just beginning to be appreciated by the public. 

Whoever knows by experience the difficulty of teaching a 
family of children to keep their shoes tied, to say nothing of the 
neatness and convenience of the article for adults, will hail this 
as one of the great improvements of the age. 

A set of these springs will outlast several pairs of shoes, and 
may be changed from the old to the new. Owing to their cheap- 
ness, utility, and durability, their use will probably become as 
general as that of any other article made of gum-elastic. 

See plate , fig. 


These have been made of shirred goods, and of different pat- 
terns, from elastic w^ebs. 

The pattern represented in plate , fig. , made of perforated 
stayed compound, with a buckle at each end, may be deemed 
worthy of notice on account of its cheapness and convenience. 





This is a very useful little article, made of braided gum-elastic 
cord. It had for some years been made in Europe, previously 
to the discovery of vulcanized gum-elastic. 




Wearing apparel. Observations on water-proof wearing apparel. Coats and capes. Ponchos. 
Cape and hood. Leggins. Sleeves. Overalls. Cartmen's frocks. Storm collar and cape. 
Firemen's capes. Fording dresses. Full fording dresses. Baptizing dresses. Caps. Storm 
caps. Firemen's caps. Neck stocks. Aprons. Nurses' aprons. Washer-women's aprons. 
Brick-maker's aprons. Mechanics' aprons. Children's aprons. Dissecting aprons. Impervious 
gloves and mittens. Bathing and flesh gloves and mittens. Dissecting gloves. Boxing gloves. 
Pervious gloves and mittens. Shoes. Pervious overshoes. Congress shoes and gaiters. 
Buffalo shoes. Ladies' boots and gaiters. Men's boots and gaiters. Sporting boots. Jack 
boots. Moccassins. Invalids' shoes. Hotel and house slippers. Insoles. Shoe soles. Life- 
preserving apparel. Firemen's caps. 

In consequence of the recent invention of the perforated fabrics 
and their contemplated appHcation to many kinds of wearing 
apparel, it is thought necessary to notice briefly some of the dif- 
ferent articles of wearing apparel, under the separate heads of 
pervious and impervious articles, because the same articles, (al- 
though worn in the same way,) are in some cases worn for dif- 
ferent purposes, and are often made of different fabrics. 

It is obvious that the napped goods are best adapted to cold 
climates, and the perforated and porous fabrics only are suitable 
for pervious wearing apparel. Plated fabrics of cotton, linen, 
and woolen, as well as the fibrous fabrics, vellum, tissue, and felt, 
either plain, napped, or embossed, and also drapery, are used 
respectively as materials for water-proof wearing apparel, accord- 
ing to the strength required for the garment, the climate in 
which it is worn, or the fancy of the wearer. In the following 
chapter, the various articles are described as made of the different 
fabrics, in accordance with past experience, and the best judg- 
ment that can now be formed of the adaptation of these fabrics. 

* A license for wearing apparel had been disposed of to the Union India Rubber Company for 
the United States, and the business is carried on extensively by them, both at Naugatuck, Conn., 
and at Ilarlem, N. Y. 

©iCi^iss^ ■ o^Jii'b 



Articles of water-proof gum-elastic wearing apparel are 
liable to one serious objection, which is, that it confines perspira- 
tion ; therefore articles of water-proof wearing apparel are only 
suited to certain occupations, or special occasions, and should 
always be used with caution. 

It is unreasonable to expect a thing to be, at the same time, 
both pervious and impervious to air and water. The shoe, or 
garment, being water and air-tight, confines the perspiration of 
course, and this is not caused by any peculiar property of gum- 
elastic. Articles of this kind are not intended, and are not 
suitable to be worn constantly. To use them in this manner 
would be dangerous to health. Yet, when worn to avoid ex- 
posure to rain and snow, they are found invaluable. When 
intended as a protection against cold, they should be either nap- 
ped, lined, or worn over other garments. A simple gum-elastic 
glove worn next the hand will make it cold, but worn loosely 
over another light glove will be very comfortable. With the 
laboring classes it is becoming quite common to wear, instead 
of a leather shoe, what is called the buskin or lined gum-elastic 
shoes for economy as well as comfort. This is certainly better 
than to w'ear leaky or bad leather shoes ; but it would be better to 
avoid wearing them, if possible, in the house. Those who will 
do so, should have two pairs, which, in the end, will be no more 
expensive, and changing them will give time for the lining, which 
has been charged w'ith perspiration, to become dry. With re- 
regard to suspenders, elastics, military stocks, or even a vest 
pattern, or any article that does not come in contact with the 
person, the idea that prevails with some persons, that they cause 
perspiration, or are uncomfortably warm, is chiefly imaginary. 
A military hat or cap is no more objectionable on this account 
than any other hat or cap, which is made water and air-tight with 
other gums in the usual manner. In other words, there is no 



inherent quality in the gum to cause perspiration more than in 
other kinds of gum, or more than in fabrics made water-proof 
with oil. It not unfrequently happens that the purchaser of 
a coat will return with it, protesting that it leaks, after having 
labored hard with it, on, in moderate weather. The same thing 
happens with sportsmen in regard to the boots of this manu- 
facture ; nor can they be convinced, until, upon filling them with 
water, they become satisfied that water cannot get out, and, 
therefore, that it cannot get in. As it sometimes happens, the 
article may leak from being badly manufactured, or from its being 
damaged ; the above is therefore always a proper test for ascer- 
taining the facts in the case. 

The foregoing remarks apply to water- proof gum-elastic wear- 
ing apparel only. Gum-elastic has heretofore been valued for 
wearing apparel, chiefly, on account of its water-proof quality. 
It has been taken for granted that no improvement could be 
made in ordinary wearing apparel with it, and that none was 
desirable ; but whoever considers the expense of time, labor, and 
money requisite for persons, especially for the laboring classes, 
to be at all times neatly and comfortably clad, must admit that 
if any new material could be substituted, which combines dura- 
bility and neatness with facility of being cleansed, it would add 
greatly to the comfort and welfare of mankind. It is confidently 
believed that this desirable object will be attained by the use of 
the porous and napped gum-elastic fabrics for ordinary wear- 
ing apparel. 


These are made of coated cloths or felt. They are made the 
most completely water-proof at the factories of the licensees,* 
but they are sometimes made up with the needle from the fabrics 
obtained in the market, and are made nearly or quite water- 
proof, when welted in the manner described, page . The 

• Union Company, both at Harlem, New York, and at Naugatack, Conn. 



articles of this sort, heretofore made of coated cloths at the fac- 
tories, are so well known throughout the United States, that a 
particular description or recommendation of them is unneces- 

It may here be remarked, as has been done elsewhere, that 
they should not be worn to exercise much in ; and they are most 
valuable to those persons, such as coachmen, sailors, and team- 
sters, who have occasion to sit or stand when exposed to storms, 
or who travel in severely cold weather. 


Are cut after the Spanish pattern, which is so much worn in 
Mexico, and other countries where the method of travelling is 
mostly on horseback. The Spanish poncho is generally made 
of heavy woolen stuffs, an opening being cut in the middle for 
putting it on, over the head. 

The articles here described are made of corded and napped 
gum-elastic, vellum, plated and napped cloths, or felt, of the 
above pattern, which is simply an oblong piece of the goods 
about two yards and a half long, by two yards in breadth. They 
are a better article than the woolen poncho to sleep on upon the 
ground, but not so good to sleep under, on account of confining 
perspiration. (It is believed that this difficulty will be obviated as 
relates to ponchos, as well as numerous other gum-elastic arti- 
cles by the manufacture and introduction of the porous fabrics.) 
They are sometimes made with a pillow in one corner of the 
blanket, to be inflated at pleasure, as represented plate xix., fig. 1. 
They are more convenient for riding on horseback than any other 
form of garment, because the rider has the free use of his arms. 
They are a better protection from rain than any other, because 
they can be thrown over the saddle and over the equipments, both 
before and behind the saddle, and will carry ihe water ofl'; whereas, 
in the case of a coat or cape, the water is only carried directly 
under the seat. When worn with the sleeves and leggins, rep 

LEG GINS. 309 

resented in plate xix., figs. 2 and 3 ; and the cap, represented in 
plate xix., fig. 4 ; and especially, if the muffler, fig. 5, is added, the 
rider is most completely equipped and defended against the storm, 
whether of rain, sleet, or snow ; but unless the latter are to be 
encountered, the muffler is superfluous, as it is too warm to be 
commonly worn in a warm climate. 

The poncho with sleeves, made of vellum, is also a cheap and 
good protection for milkmen and milkmaids, when engaged in 
their occupation, or for persons travelling, when exposed to 


This article is made of porous vellum, corded vellum, and 
tissue, or plated cloths for warm climates, and of those which 
are napped for cold climates. 

The hood is a complete appendage for a water-proof garment, 
and is as well adapted for walking and driving in the rain, as 
the poncho is for riding on horseback. This form of garment is 
a very useful one for ladies', as well as for gentlemen's wear. 


The short leggins, represented in plate xix., by figs. 6 and 7, 
are best made of vellum, and are used for walking, or riding on 
horseback, in muddy travelling. The long leggins are represented 
by figs. 6 and 7. Fig. 6 is fastened by being shirred or corru- 
gated, with an elastic band at the top. Fig. 7 is sometimes 
shirred, and sometimes secured by a strap around the waist. 
Fig. 8 is a long leggin, sometimes made of vellum, shirred the 
whole length by a number of elastic bands, for the same use as 
figs. 6 and 7 ; but it is more commonly made of flannel, which is 
not coated with gum-elastic, and shirred with elastic bands, by 
means of the needle. This article is designed only to be worn 

— — ^^£5^ 


in the cold and snow, for which purpose it cannot be too highly- 
recommended, as most comfortable and convenient. 


The long sleeve represented in plate xix., fig. 9, is made of 
napped and corded vellum, or plated fabrics, and is designed 
to be worn with the poncho, as described on page . The 
short sleeve, represented by fig. 10, is made of perforated vellum, 
or drapei'y, and is intended to be worn by misses, as a substitute 
for that which has sometimes been made of morocco, or other 
material, as a protection for the dress. 


Gum-elastic corded vellum or plated cloth is best suited for 
this article, they answer a good purpose for sailors standing on 
watch, or for the driver, in stormy weather ; but they are too 
warm to be worn much by persons while laboring. In the former 
case they are undoubtedly conducive to health, but for ordinary 
wear thev should be avoided. 


Have hitherto been made of coated cloths, after the pattern 
represented in plate xix., fig. 11. But they have commonly been 
found too warm. It is a desirable pattern of garment for coach- 
men as well as cartmen, answering better to wear without leg- 
gins than other patterns of coats, although other patterns are 
usually preferred when worn with leggins. It is believed that 
when made of porous fabrics it will be found sufficiently water- 
proof to protect the wearer from wet, and at the same time not 
too warm. 



This is made of napped drapery or vellum, as represented in 
plate , figs. 12, 13 and 14. This article, being napped*with cotton 
or wool on the inside, will be found comfortable in a cold storm, 
affording the neck a complete protection from the rain or snow, 
a comfort which it is :)therwise very difficult to obtain ; for, as 
most travellers know, it is no easy thing to keep out a driving 
storm by any ordinary apparel. Fig. 12 represents the article as 
used for a cape or mufHer. In fig. 13 the collar is drawn up by 
the lacing to be used as a cap, and is readily shaped by pressing 
down the top, as in fig. 14, into a travelling cap. 


Are made of corded vellum, plated cloths, or gum-elastic felt. 
The fabrics are well adapted for this use on account of their 
water-proof quality, and also for another reason. Although the 
vulcanized fabrics burn fiercely when ignited, they do not catch 
fire so readily as most other fabrics. These capes may be made 
more comfortable by being made of porous fabrics except the 
parts about the shoulders ; they will then be sufficiently water- 
proof to protect the wearer from wet. 


Are made of plated cloths, or corded vellum, being in the form 
of pantaloons with boots attached, and a large tube surrounding 
the top, which is inflated with air. They are used for fording 
rivers, and by the aid of a cord to pull the dress back across the 
stream, a party of any number may cross a river with one dress. 
See plate , fig. . 




This is a similar article to that described, plate , fig. differ- 
ing from it only in the upper part by the addition of sleeves, 
gloves, &c., so as to cover the whole person. Being drawn 
closely about the neck, a man may ford a stream without re- 
moving his garments. 

While wearing under the sheet of water at Niagara Falls one 
of the open, uncouth over dresses of oil cloth, that are ajfforded 
visitors at Niagara, at the price of half a crown, the writer 
imagined that the public might be better accommodated with 
a dress, such as the one here described, represented by fig. , 


These are made of plated cloths or corded vellum. They 
have been found useful, and have been highly approved of by 
Baptist clergymen, who are obliged to stand a long time in 
water in cold weather. They are made similar to fishing pants, 
except that they are cut higher in the waist. 

The full fording dress, described on page , either with or 
without the life-preserver, is also well adapted to this use. 


Are made either at the factories or with the needle, as caps of 
other materials are made. Gum-elastic, vellum, and felt, and 
also the same fabrics when napped and perforated, or embossed 
in imitation of morocco, are suitable for caps, according to the 
chmate and service for which they are intended. 

A suggestion may here be made as to the advantage of making 


these as well as other kinds of caps and hats, partly of pervious, 
and, in part, of the water-proof fabrics, by which they may be 
made cool and yet water-proof See plate fig. 


In general, storm caps are made of the same materials as those 
already described, with the addition of a storm cape, made of 
corded tissue or vellum for warm climates, and of corded napped 
tissue, vellum, or plated fabrics, for cold climates. 

This cap and cape cannot be too highly recommended to be 
worn in stormy weather, or when riding with the neck exposed 
to a draft of air. The cape, when not needed, is turned inside 
the cap. 


Are made, both with and without capes, as represented, plate 
xix., figs. 15 and 16. Bands of iron pass transversely over and 
around the top of the cap. The use of these is to protect the 
head from falling timbers. The materials of which these caps 
are made, as well as the method of their manufacture, are much 
the same as those used for military caps. ^ For a more particular 
description of which, see Chapter X. 


These are made of perforated felt or non-elastic compound. 
They are vulcanized and shaped upon forms, so that they will 
ever after retain their exact shape. They are afterward lined 
with the needle with any suitable material. For soldiers, or 
persons who are exposed to storms, it is believed they will form 
a very useful covering for the neck. 



A great variety of aprons are made of the different fabrics, 
which answer very useful purposes. 

In the early manufacture of gum-elastic in the United States, 
this branch of business, particularly that of ladies' and nurses' 
aprons, was carried on very extensively, and large quantities of 
them were made and sold by the Roxbury, as well as other India 
Rubber companies ; so that for one or two years the operations 
of a number of extensive manufacturers were almost wholly con- 
fined to this article. Unfortunately for the manufacturers as 
well as the public, the aprons that were then made, were almost 
or quite valueless, and the disappointment was such, that since 
that time aprons have not been manufactured and put in the 
market as articles of merchandise, although India rubber piece 
goods are cut and worn for that purpose. There is little ques- 
tion but when the manufacture is again attempted, and ladies' 
aprons are made from the fibrous, and porous fibrous fabrics, 
they will be found as economical and useful as ever was antici- 


Are made of plated fabrics and corded vellum, or tissue. 


Are made of plated cloths and corded vellum. 


Are made of heavy porous fabrics, or vegetable leather, per- 



Are made of perforated, felt or vegetable leather ; when made 
of the water-proof fabrics they have been found too warm. 


Corded tissue and vellum, plated muslin, and perforated 
vellum, are in general best suited for infants' bibs and childrens' 


Are made of corded perforated vellum, or plated fabrics, with 
sleeves and gloves attached. See Chapter VII., Medical and 


Are made most commonly of knit goods and napped elastic 
compound. When made of elastic compound they are con- 
structed in a peculiar manner, with non-elastic stays upon the 
seams, in order that they may be conveniently drawn upon the 
hand. They are designed to be worn over other gloves and 
mittens, and to be used in various departments of labor and 
occupations, where those engaged in them are obliged to have 
their hands in liquids that are injurious. Hatters, chemists, 
dyers, and numerous other tradesmen, who have to make use 
of strong acids and alkalies, will find them useful. For house- 
wives and servants, who handle coal and ice, and for washing, 
especially when the hands are dipped alternately in hot and cold 
water, or when they are chapped, they will be found very 


When these articles are worn over other gloves they are not 
only comfortable and warm, but they are a great protection to 
other gloves, keeping them from being injured by wet. They 
are not intended to be worn next the hand, except in cases 
where it is inconvenient to wear an under glove. Fine light 
gloves and mittens of gum-elastic tissue and drapery, are also 
much approved for bleaching ladies' hands, and healing those 
that are chapped. 


See Chapter XIII, Bathing Apparatus. 


See Chapter , Medical and Surgical, 


See Chapter , Sporting. 


Specimens of this article have recently been made from per- 
forated felt and perforated elastic compound, which give assur- 
ance, that ere long, gloves and mittens will be made for ordinary 
wear, which will answer well as substitutes for gloves and 
mittens made of buckskin, kid, wool, and other stuffs ; and 
that the heavier kinds, at least, will be made pervious to air 
and impervious to water. 

SHOES. 317 

About thirty years since, the first few pairs of native gum- 
elastic shoes, or what might more properly be called India rubber 
bottles, with openings in the sides, were imported into Boston. 

At that time their uncouth and clumsy shapes, added to their 
weight, was a great hinderance to their introduction ; notwith- 
standing which, their importation continued to increase, as they 
were gradually improved, until 1840, previous to which time more 
than half a million pairs were imported in one year. 

The first vulcanized gum-elastic shoe was made by the inventor 
in 1840, but owing to the difficulty of operating the heating pro- 
cess at that time, and the embarrassments of the writer, this 
manufacture was not fairly started until 1843, or much noticed 
in any way until 1844. 

In 1845, a successful shoe manufacture v^as put in operation 
at Hamden, Connecticut,* and another at Naugatuck.f As the 
manufacture of these shoes was improved, they came rapidly 
into favor with the public, and the demand has increased, so that, 
at the present time, fifteen thousand pairs per day are manufac- 
tured by the licensees of the inventor. 

For several years past the increase of this manufacture has 
more than doubled each year, which will probably be the lowest 
estimate which can be made of the increase of the manufacture 
for some years to come ; since, in addition to the real utility and 
durability of these goods, the manufacturers have attained a per- 
fection of finish, and a style of execution, which is hardly sur- 
passed in any branch of manufacture, either in this or any other 
country ; and the demand for them is not only becoming general 
throughout the United States, but they are being exported largely 
to England, and are also being introduced into many other 
foreign countries. They have become so common in the United 
States, and their qualities are so well known, that any remarks 

* JJy Mr. L. Candee. t By Mr. William Deforest. 


, ...^ — — 02S^ 


concerning them are, perhaps, unnecessary. They are, to many 
persons, an article of absolute necessity ; and their great econ- 
omy is a great temptation, especially for the laboring classes, to 
wear them constantly. Some persons may do this with im- 
punity, especially if they are changed often ; but in general, on 
account of their confining perspiration, they may be considered 
injurious to health, if worn constantly. They are only suitable 
to be worn out of doors in wet or muddy walking. The fore- 
going remarks are applicable to this branch of manufacture as 
it has been, and as it now exists; but in consequence of the im- 
provements which are made in the fabrics by perforating or 
making them porous, it is presumed that gum-elastic shoes will, 
ere long, be made, which may be worn constantly, with even 
more satisfaction than leather shoes. Specimens of perforated 
and porous gum-elastic shoes have recently been made, that 
warrant the conclusion that the gum, with the high finish that 
is given to these shoes, is so far a repellent of water, that, when 
they are of an ordinary thickness, water will not penetrate them, 
unless under pressure ; and it is certain that they are equally 
comfortable, or more so, than shoes made of cloth or leather, so 
far as relates to the upper portions of them. 

The soles, when made of India rubber, cemented in the usual 
way, will, in some degree, cause the soles of the feet to perspire. 
This may be obviated in a great measure by an inner sole of 
another material, and completely removed by cementing a stay 
around the edge of the upper, and stitching a leather sole to it, 
in the same way as leather shoes. By these means it is ex- 
pected that gum-elastic will answer not only the present use for 
over-shoes, but that it may be made a porous vegetable leather ; 
and so far, at least, as shoes are concerned, a substitute for 
animal leather for ordinary wear. 

If the wi'iter is correct in these conclusions, the future useful- 
ness and extent of this branch of gum-elastic manufacture can 
hardly, at the present day, be estimated. The saving of expense 
certainly cannot, at present, be estimated. Even now, the cost 
of shoes of gum-elastic or vegetable leather, is much less than 


those made of animal leather ; and the expense of manufacturing 
some kinds, when the shoes or boots are cemented, is as ten to 
one in favor of gum-elastic, so that when the channels of supply 
are fairly opened for obtaining the raw material in the abundance 
in which nature yields it, what is anticipated now can hardly 
fail to be realized. 

Among the numerous kinds of gum-elastic boots and shoes that 
are being made, the following may be noticed, most of them be- 
cause of some peculiarity in their construction, on which 
account diagrams of some of them are given. 


The public have become so well acquainted with the im- 
pervious vulcanized over-shoes, that any description of the 
various styles, or comments upon them, more than have before 
been made, may be superfluous. The perforated over-shoes, 
which are here alluded to, are made whole, and without per- 
forations, like other over-shoes, for about Jialf an inch up the 
sides, the other parts of the upper being perforated, as represented 
plate XX., fig. 1. 


This is a term which has been applied to boots and shoes of 
various kinds, which have the gussets or springs inserted, which 
are described, page 

These might, with more propriety, have been called the peo- 
ple's boots and shoes, for the reason that, in all probability, they 
will go into general use among all classes. While the article was 
made with the springs of shirred goods, they were much ap- 
proved, notwithstanding' these springs were too close for hot 
weather. Since the introduction of the perforated spring, no 
objection exists to this improvement. It is found to answer the 



purpose of fastening gaiters and shoes so much better than any 
shoe-string, clasp, or lacing, that has heretofore been used, that 
no comparison can fairly be made between the old and new 
method of fastening shoes on the feet. See plate xx., fig. 2. 


Shoes made of buffalo hides, with the fur inside, have been 
very much worn in the northern and western states, where furs 
are abundant, and where an article of this kind is needed on 
account of the coldness of the climate ; but they are oftentimes 
uncomfortably warm, and do not answer in snow-water or wet 
weather. When these shoes are made of buffalo hides, covered 
with gum-elastic, they are much more durable and comfortable 
if the upper parts of the shoe are perforated, so as to be per- 
vious to air and impervious to water, as represented, plate xx., 
fig. 3. 


The upper part of these are made of porous fabrics, or felt 
loosely cut. No article of the shoe kind is more Useful than this 
for ladies and children to wear in the snow, or in muddy walk- 
ing, or when dew is on the grass. As a preservative of health 
they are invaluable. See plate xxi., figs. 4 and 5. 


Vulcanized gum-elastic boots have commonly been made upon 
a knit fabric ; gum-elastic felt is also a suitable material for this 
purpose, when the tops are perforated, as represented by figs. 6 
and 7. They are comfortable to be worn at all times. They are 
made of both the above materials, without perforating, for wear- 



ing in water. Another article has been made to considerable 
extent, by covering a woolen felt boot, formed whole, like a 
hat body, with a sheet of elastic compound upon the outside. 
These boots have been highly approved, to be worn oc- 
casionally for a day in severe cold or stormy weather, as, in so 
short a time, the felt does not saturate with perspiration, so as to 
make them uncomfortable. When thus worn, or for standing, or 
wading in water or snow-water in cold climates, they are un- 
questionably more comfortable than any other boot ; but it is the 
height of imprudence to wear them constantly for days in suc- 


These are made of the same materials as the gum-elastic boots 
before described ; the tops are made either of felt or plated 
cloth. They are fastened by a belt around the waist, and worn 
for wading in water, or for marsh shooting, being made high, as 
represented in plate xxi., fig. 8. 

They do not always answer the expectation of the wearer, 
being too warm for active exercise. They are as uncomforta- 
ble for the feet, when wet with perspiration, as when wet with 
water. They may be worn with great satisfaction by any one 
standing in water, or wading in marshy ground, either for fishing 
or shooting, when the wearer does not exercise so as to perspire 


This article, which has heretofore been made of hard leather, 
may be advantageously made of perforated felt, or vegetable 
leather. See plate xxi., fig. 9. 

— . Sii^l 



It is well known that the buckskin moccasin, which is so much 
prized for wearing in cold weather, is much injured by being wet. 
They may be much improved by being covered on the bottom 
and sides with elastic compound. See plate xxi., fig. 10. 


Are manufactured of perforated gum-elastic felt, and porous 
elastic knit goods, with an insole of perforated sponge fabric, as 
represented in plate xxi., fig. 11. Besides answering the com- 
mon purpose of a leather shoe, this article will be found most 
comfortable for those who are afllicted with lameness, especially 
when the soles are made of gum-elastic sponge. 


These are made from the perforated gum-elastic fabrics, with 
leather soles, by stitching like other shoes. These slippers are 
not only pleasant and comfortable in-doors, but they may also 
be worn out of doors, or in the wet, with impunity. Numerous 
other kinds of perforated shoes for ordinary wear, as a substitute 
for shoes of cloth and animal leather, might be noticed with 
equal propriety ; but it is presumed that their advantages will 
be sufficiently obvious from the descriptions already given, and 
the diagrams, plate xxi., fig. 12. 

\rn^^- ■ 



Insoles for leather shoes may be formed of sheets of perforated 
gum-elastic sponge, as represented in plate xxi., fig. 13, which 
are so very soft, elastic, and pleasant to the feet . For the 
lame, were it not for the objection of sweating, these articles 
might be highly recommended. The objections are, in part, re- 
moved by perforating, and afterwards covering them with flan- 
nel or other woven cloths. 


Within a few years past a method has been adopted in some 
parts of the United States, of cementing an outer sole of vul- 
canized elastic compound upon leather boots and shoes, both 
when they are new, and after the leather soles are worn off". 

These articles have given entire satisfaction to the wearer, 
both on account of their economy, in causing them to wear much 
longer than they otherwise would, and because they answer, in 
part, the purposes of an India rubber shoe in keeping the feet 
dry without causing them to perspire. 

An article of this kind has been recently invented,* which can 
be conveniently put on and off, as represented in plate xxi., fig. 
14. The strap of this sole is made of elastic compound. 
Although it is as yet quite new and untried, it may be considered 
a real improvement, and another acquisition for the comfortable 
protection of the feet. See plate .f 


A number of these articles are represented, plate xxi. The 
fabrics from which they are manufactured, viz., the air-work and 

* By Doct. Charles Stearns, Springfield, Mass. t Since introduced, and found highly usefuL 


the quilted fabrics, are described, Vol. I., Chap. X. The uses 
to which they may be applied, and their utility as life-preservers, 
are alluded to in the description of one of them, fig. 4, as a pon- 
cho, or cape bed, in Chapter . The style of work is 
durable, and, arranged as there described, is perfectly safe as a 
life-preserver, and also useful as a mattress, bed, or cushion ; but 
considering its bulk, how far it may be applied or made prac- 
tically useful for garments, in comparison with other things that 
are hghter and more convenient as garments, is a question. 


Are manufactured by the combination of caoutchouc whale- 
bone and vegetable leather, much in the same manner as the 
mihtary caps, described in Chapter . This cap is made so 
as to unite all the properties that are desired in firemen's caps, 
being so constructed as to ward off accidents, without being too 
heavy or unyielding. See plate , fig. 



Bath tubs. Portable bath tubs. Child's bath tub. Foot baths. Portable foot baths. Bathing 
mats. Bathing and flesh gloves. Bathing and flesh mittena. Bathing pantaloons. Shower 
baths. Hand shower baths. Sponge bags. Bath tub straps. Bathing caps. 

Iisr this hydropathic age, when the pubHc mind is awake to 
every thing that relates to bathing, labored argument is not 
necessary to prove that gum-elastic is useful for such purposes ; 
and it is presumed that a brief description of the various articles 
of this kind that have been made of it, together with the drawings 
in the plate, are all that is required to give the reader a correct 
idea of their adaptations. 


Stationary tubs are made of caoutchouc board or whalebone, 
on account of cheapness, and for the purpose of giving medi- 
cated acid baths, as the gum is not injured by acids, like metal 
or wood. 


These may be, and have been constructed in various ways, 
among which two kinds have been selected for description, 
which appear best adapted for this use, as represented in the 
diagrams, plate , figs. 1 and 2. 


,@^s : «S^)^ 


Fig. 1 represents the article made of corded and barred 
plated fabrics, constructed of the common form of bath tubs, 
of any size required, with a strong hose about three inches in 
diameter, of the same material, running upon each side, the 
length of the tub, through which bars may be slipped to support 

Fig. 2 is another form of bath tub, which is made with a 
wooden or iron hoop around the top, and movable bars or sup- 
ports, which are hinged at the bottom with elastic compound, 
which gives way enough to allow the supports to be slipped into 
sockets at the top of the tub, or they may have non-elastic 
hinges at the bottom, and be otherwise hinged or fastened at the 
top. Either of these kinds, when not in use, occupy a very 
small space, which is often a great consideration for camp and 
for ship's use. 


The bathing mat, with a large tube, is sometimes used as a 
child's bath tub. The tub may also be made by nailing a square 
piece of plated canvas upon a frame or horse, in the manner 
represented in the plate , fig. , or they may be made of a 
small size, in the same way as the portable bath tubs already 


Are made of gum-elastic whalebone board, as represented in 
plate, figs. 1 and 2. They have an advantage over earthen or 
metal baths on account of their lightness, and are not liable to 
be broken or bent. 



These are made of strong plated canvas, as represented in 
the plate, figs. 6 and 7, with the rims and braces arranged in the 
same manner as in the portable bath tubs already described, 
and they may, like them, be packed in a small compass for 


These are made of gum-elastic vellum, plated cloth, or plated 
muslin, from three to six feet square ; and are also made round, 
from three to five feet in diameter, as represented in plate , 
figs. 8, 9 and 10. The cheapest article of the kind, fig. 8, is made 
with a cord of elastic sponge or cotton rope, cemented in around 
the edge, to prevent the water from running oflf the mat when 
in use. Figs. 9 and 10 represent an improved bathing mat, made 
with a border inflated with air around the edge, instead of the 
cord as above described. This border is inflated with the self- 
acting valve tube, described page . The advantage gained 
by this improvement is this, when the border is collapsed it is 
much the most portable, and it therefore admits of a much larger 
border being used, than can be obtained with the cheaper article 
made with a cord. Both these articles will be found very useful 
in families for bathing. They are also a great convenience and 
comfort for the same purpose to persons travelling, particularly 
when the hand shower bath is used. When the tubes are made 
large enough, or when one is placed above another, as represented 
by fig. 11, they may be made to answer all the purposes of the 
bath tub, especially for children. 



^5^55 „ CH^io^ 



These are made of knit goods or elastic compound, with a sheet 
of elastic tufted sponge cemented to the face of the glove. They 
answer the common purposes of a flesh brush, and are made 
superior to bristle brushes for bathing, as they are not softened 
by being saturated with water. See plate , fig. 12. 


This article is very similar to the glove above described, ex- 
cept that it answers the purpose of a clothes brush as well as 
other uses, better than the glove, and they are somewhat differ- 
ently made ; the inner part of the mitten being made of a sheet 
of the sponge, instead of being lined or veneered with it like the 
glove. See plate , fig. 13. 


These are made of vellum or plated fabrics. They are 
evidently better adapted for the purpose of bathing than the 
clothes which are commonly used at watering-places and at 
public bath houses, and are the more convenient for being 
gathered at the top and bottom, being shirred with an elastic 
cord. See plate , fig. 14. 


The curtains of a variety of shower baths, both portable and 
stationary, may be made of gum-elastic tissue and vellum, among 
which may be noticed those represented by figs. 21, 22, and 




23. These fabrics may be recommended for this use on account 
of their cheapness and water-proof quality. 


This is a convenient article, both for families and for travellers, 
and is designed to be used generally with the bathing mat. It 
is made of gum-elastic vellum or elastic compound, distended by 
a series of hoops, diminishing in size one above the other, so that 
when collapsed, it shuts in a very small space, and is quite 

The article is filled with water by suction, through the sieve 
at the bottom, which is made of perforated caoutchouc whale- 
bone or whalebone board. See plate , fig. 17. 


These are made of vellum, tissue, and drapery. They are 
much cheaper, if not far preferable, to those made of oil silk. 
They are the more convenient on account of the mouth being 
closed by being shirred with an elastic cord, and may be recom- 
mended as a useful article to travellers, for carrying sponges. 


This is a strap of elastic compound stayed goods, and though 
a small article, may be recommended as a substitute for the 
cloth strap or webbing, heretofore used at the head of bath tubs, 
on account of its cleanliness, elasticity, and water-proof quality. 




Are made of drapery or tissue. These fabrics are very suit- 
able, and highly approved of for this purpose ; the drapery, on 
account of its elasticity, and both on account of their water- 
proof quality and cheapness. They are shirred around the edge 
with an elastic cord. See plate , figs. 15 and 16. 




Umbrellas and parasols. Trunks. Paper trunks. Hat boxes. Muff boxes. Valises. Band- 
boxes. Travelling bags. Improved travelling bags. Incompressible bags. Portmanteaus. 
Saddle-bags. Mail-bags. Horse mail-bags. Bottles. Hot-vsrater bottles. Improved hot-water 
bottles. Shaving boxes. Dressing boxes. Portable desks. Pocket instands. Expansion 
trunks and valises. 

The advantages to be derived from the use of gum-elastic 
for travelling apparatus are so obvious, that it may be emphat- 
ically said, this is one of its most appropriate uses. 

The fabrics are not only suitable substitutes for other mate- 
rials in the manufacture of many kinds of travelling apparatus, 
which have been in common use, but they have also given 
rise to improvements in their construction, and many things 
have been invented from them, which add to the convenience 
and comfort of travelling, and what is of more consequence, to 
the safety both of person and property. Descriptions of an 
assortment of these inventions will be found in this and the 
following chapter. 


See Chapter 



Common wooden trunks may be rendered water-proof by 
covering them with gum-elastic materials, of different kinds, 
and a further improvement may be suggested in the use of a 
fabric, with gum-elastic nails or studs of non-elastic compound 
or packing. In either case, short wood screws may be inserted 
through the studs into the wood part of the trunk. This will 
obviate, in a great measure, the common liability of trunks to 
chafe and damage. This method is certainly preferable to the 
common one of loading trunks with heavy metal nails, which 
give little more than a sliuw of strength and protection to the 
trunk, while at the same time they serve to damage evei'y thing 
else with which they come in contact. 


The improvements which have, of late years, been made in 
the manufacture of pasteboard, have rendered it suitable for 
many substantial uses. It is, in many cases, equally or more 
substantial than wood when protected from dampness. Its being 
liable to be damaged by water, and being so difficult to nail or 
fasten together by any means heretofore known, has undoubt- 
edly prevented its being used for a great variety of purposes 
for which it might otherwise be suitable. 

A plan is adopted in the manufacture of these trunks, which 
might be applied to other things made of pasteboard. They are 
cemented together with gum-elastic bindings, and afterwards 
covered with the gum-elastic fabric, being strengthened with 
bands and braces of tin, sheet-iron, or other suitable supports 
covered with the same material. 

It is believed that trunks of this description will be found 
more durable than those which have commonly been made of 




Common pasteboard hat boxes are made water-proof and 
very durable, when constructed upon the plan of the paper 
trunks, before described. 


See Chapter VII. 


The same improvements that have been suggested for band- 
boxes and trunks are applicable to valises, when they are made 
either of wood or of pasteboard. 


The common pasteboard box is much improved and rendered 
durable by covering with gum-elastic tissue or vellum. These 
fabrics may be put on in the usual way with glue or flour paste. 
The paste being protected from dampness by the coating of 
gum, it is not necessary to use a more expensive cement. If 
they are strengthened by a hoop of rattan or tin, covered with 
the fabric, and placed around the edge of the lid, and also around 
the rim of the box, as represented, plate , fig. , they are 
rendered much more durable. Paper boxes, constructed in this 
way, have been found to last for years. They may be exposed 
outside in travelling like trunks, and do not require that extra- 
ordinary care of being carried inside the vehicle, which has 
always made paper boxes so annoying to travellers. 

The first cost of boxes made in the way here described, is 
something more than that of paper boxes in common use, but in 



the end they will be far the cheapest, to say nothing of what 
is gained in safety. 


Numerous kinds of these are manufactured of different gum- 
elastic fabrics. The plated fabrics may be recommended as most 
suitable in general for the common kinds. They may be made 
up with the needle, and secured by different kinds of fastenings, 
like other bags. That represented by plate , fig. , has an 

apron or mouth attached to the top, which may be dropped 
within the bag or used out of it, so as to increase the size very 


This bag is made of gum-elastic materials, and differs from 
other kinds only in the method of fastening it. It is closed by a 
slide made either of gum-elastic whalebone or metal. This slide 
is simply a plain hollow tube, either round or square, with a 
handle in the middle, and a cut the whole length, into which the 
mouth of the bag is slipped. This tube is equally well adapted 
for traveling bags made of other materials besides gum-elastic ; 
it will be found one of the most simple and convenient fasten- 
ings, and may be made quite secure by a padlock at the end. 
See plate , figs. 


The incompressible bag, which is designed to pack in the 
smallest compass when collapsed, is made of gum-elastic plated 
fabrics, as represented by plate , fig. . They are inflated 
by means of the valve tube described on page , and 
their inflation prevents their contents being damaged by pres- 
sure. They are well adapted to carry light articles, such as 




caps, ruffles, &c. ; also for a life-preserver, being made quite 
impervious to air and water. 

The same form of bag, when made of heavier materials and 
vulcanized upon a block or last, will keep its shape so as not to 
require inflating with the tube. 

A convenient form of incompressible bag is made as repre- 
sented by fig. , having the body of a trunk or box united with 
the upper part or mouth of a bag. A similar article is made 
with a box which shuts or folds like an accordion. See plate 
, fig. . 


Portmanteaus are manufactured of perforated gum-elastic 
fabrics, in combination with those which are not perforated, as 
represented by plate , fig. . 


These are manufactured of the same material as the portman- 
teaus, and may be recommended on account of their water- 
proof qualities and safety in fording rivers, particularly when 
they are made water-tight at the mouth. See plate , fig. 

M A I L - B A G S . 

If there is any one purpose for which it is desirable to sub- 
stitute gum-elastic for leather, on account of its water-proof 
quality, it is for mail-bags. The value of their contents, and 
their exposure to damage and loss by water, being generally 
known and often commented upon, led many persons, at a very 
early period, to suggest to the writer that this would be a useful 
application of gum-elastic. 

On these accounts the first premature attempts to make mail- 
bags, were made before the vulcanizing process was at all under- 
stood or rendered practicable to any extent. 

?. 4 

p\^ _,« 


The unsuccessful attempt by the inventor to manufacture 
mail-bags of gum-elastic, previous to the discovery of the vul- 
canizing process, has been noticed in the first volume of this 
w^ork ; this was followed by another premature attempt of the 
licensees to make them of vulcanized coated canvas. These, 
although answering a tolerable purpose, did not give satisfaction, 
owing to the weight of the article, and the gum peeling from the 
canvas. This last obstacle to the use of these fabrics as a sub- 
stitute for leather, has frequently been remarked upon, and also 
the manner in which the difficulty is removed by the invention 
of the fibrous fabrics, felt and vegetable leather. Since the in- 
vention of these fabrics, specimens of mail-bags have been 
made, which, in the judgment of those who have seen them, 
cannot fail to answer the purpose for which they are made. 
They are constructed of corded and barred fibrous and plated 
fabrics, fastened in the usual way with the chain, or with jaws, 
like the ships' letter bags. See Chapter , fig. 


Horse mail-bags are used for conveying mails on horseback, 
in parts of the country where it is impossible or difficult to con- 
vey them in coaches or wagons. They are, therefore, more ex- 
posed than other mail-bags to be lost or injured by water in ford- 
ing rivers. A gum-elastic bag of this sort has been constructed 
of gum-elastic fabrics, in the form of the common portmanteau ; 
and when the mouth is closed with a water and air-proof fas- 
tening, as represented plate , fig. , they may be made to 
answer the purposes of a life-preserver, both for the horse and 
rider, in fording rivers. 


Several kinds of gum-elastic and covered bottles have been 
noticed under their respective heads, Chapters 




Recent improvements, by w^hich the vulcanized fabrics are made 
more pure and free from odor, render this use of gum-elastic 
more deserving of special notice. The insertion of the bottle 
tube, made wholly of gum-elastic, with a valve, and cemented to 
the bottles, is an additional recent improvement. The cost of 
canteens, hot-water bottles, and other flexible kinds, may also 
be much reduced through their manufacture by machinery, 
after the manner of air- work, described Vol. I., page 


Are manufactured of unvulcanized fabrics, with a large 
tube of artificial ivory, and India rubber bottle-stopper. They 
are intended to be used in cases of sickness to give warmth to 
patients, or for travelling in cold weather, but may also be used 
for other purposes. These bottles are unquestionably among 
the most convenient and effectual means of applying warmth to 
patients in the hospital and sick room, or for the service of 
those who suffer from coldness of the feet. 


Are made of unvulcanized fabrics, like other hot-water bottles, 
with the addition of a tunnel made of caoutchouc fabric, attached 
to the neck, in order that they may be filled conveniently on all 
occasions, without the use of a separate tunnel. 

They are also made with partitions, like some kinds of air- 
work, in order to keep them in the shape desired. Some of 
the various patterns are represented by figs. , plate 


Most persons who use shaving boxes are aware that some im- 
provement is needed in them, especially for travellers. When 



made of wood the lids warp, and it is very difficult to keep 
them on ; metal boxes corrode ; glass and china are heavy and 
brittle, and have the same defect as the wood, from the loose- 
ness of the lids. Gum-elastic whalebone is recommended for 
this use, for the reason that it is not injured by hot water, will 
not warp like wood or corrode like metal, will not break like 
china or glass, and admits of the box being made water-tight 
by screwing on the lid. 


Superior boxes of this sort may be cheaply manufactured from 
caoutchouc ivory, instead of fine wood, and when it is desired 
they can be made with a soft surface of artificial gum-elastic 
upon the ivory, to make them resemble such as have commonly 
been covered with morocco. 


Are manufactured upon forms or in moulds of caoutchouc whale- 
bone. On account of the lightness, hardness, and strength of this 
material, it has the same general recommendations for portable 
desks, that it has for the shaving and dressing boxes before 


A useful and curious pocket inkstand is manufactured of 
gum-elastic, with a gum-elastic ivory screw stopper and valve. 
See plate , fig. . 



Trunks and valises of a pattern which has sometimes been 
made of leather, are now made of caoutchouc and whalebone 
board with new facilities, the material retaining its shape much 
better than leather. The trunk or valise is made in two parts, 
of about the same depth. That part which forms the top, and 
is a trifle the larger of the two, shuts over the other, and by 
being raised or depressed, the size of the trunk is proportioned 
to its contents. See plate , fig. . These are easily made 
a life-preserving apparatus when manufactured with a cushion 
of gum-elastic sponge around the edge of the lid upon the inside, 
so that when the trunk, valise, or box is reduced to its smallest 
dimensions, and the edge of the lid shuts against the cushion, it 
is rendered quite water and air-tight. See plate , fig. 

In the appUcation of gum-elastic to traveling apparatus, an 
improvement is made by a method of marking and numbering 
the articles, which adds greatly to their security against mis- 
carriage and loss. This, in the present mode of traveling by 
railway, is no inconsiderable advantage. The impossibility 
often of getting baggage checked for want of time, renders every 
precaution necessary. 

The improvements consists in manufacturing the article with 
mottoes and numbers in bas-relief, selecting a different motto 
for each size of each class of articles, and a different number for 
each article. 

This method of marking adds nothing to the expense of the 
articles, the mottoes being moulded in the process of vulcanizing, 
while much is added to their value by being rendered less liable 
to loss. 



Life-preserver trunks. Improved life-preserver trunks. Water and air-proof valises. Water 
and air-proof hat and bonnet boxes. Travelling bags. Life-preserving travelling bags. Double 
life-preserving travelling bags. Life-preserving expansion trunks and valises. 

A VARIETY of articles for the preservation of life have been 
treated of under the head of Air-work, but the design of the 
author in this place is to call the attention of the reader to that 
class of India rubber goods that may be used for different pur- 
poses in travelling, as well as for the preservation of life and 

The defects of life-preservers inflated with air have been 
noticed in a preceding chapter ; the advantages to be derived 
from the improved construction of diiferent kinds were also no- 
ticed, and the inference was drawn that, notwithstanding all 
their objections, much good might yet be derived from the use 
of life-preservers inflated with air only, although some of the 
other kinds described were much to be preferred for safety. 
Whatever doubts may arise as to the comparative utility of any 
of the life-preservers before treated of, none need to exist as to 
the value of those which may be used for travelling purposes at 
the same time. Articles which are deemed, on the whole, of 
importance, not only for the purposes of travelling, but also as 
life-preservers, are here noticed. Notwithstanding it seldom 
happens that one article can be made to answer perfectly two 
distinct uses, an exception to this rule is claimed for the whole 
class of articles described as life-preserving travelling apparatus. 
Most of them answer two or more useful purposes, without 


For ordinary life-preservers there is but occasional use. For 
trunks, valises, carpet bags, and other travelling apparatus 
which may be made available as life-preservers, there is con- 
stant use. The importance to the public, however, of every im- 
provement, depends upon the comparative cost of the article 
improved. The cost of most articles of this kind of travelling 
apparatus is not increased by the improvements suggested, ex- 
cept in the case oi paper-boxes ; and these are so much im- 
proved, that no comparison whatever should be made between 
them and those that have formerly been in use. 

The expense of most of these articles is very much less than 
that of those heretofore used for the same purposes, and for 
some of the more expensive articles, the cost is lessened one half. 
This is the case with the trunk, hat-box, and other travelling 
apparatus, that are designed as substitutes for those which have 
heretofore been made of sole leather. The adaptation of these 
articles to use as life-preservers, does not render them any the 
less, but rather the more, useful for the purposes of travelling. 
Various expedients are devised for making them perfectly air- 
tight, which are cheap, simple, and effectual. 

Some effectual means of closing the mouth of bags, for in- 
flating air-work, and also for rendering gum-elastic trunks and 
boxes water and air-tight, were required in order to make them 
complete for these purposes, or at all infallible as life-pre- 
servers. These means have been effectually provided. The 
gum-elastic self-acting valve tube for inflating life-preservers, 
buoys, and other air- work ; the cushioned clasp and jaws, and 
also the slide, for securing the mouths of bags, together with 
the groove and cushion, for rendering boxes and trunks water 
and air-tight, have been satisfactorily tested, and found unobjec- 
tionable for accomplishing the object. 

To perfect these, although so simple and effectual when done, 
has caused much perplexity and great expense to the writer ; 
and it is worthy of remark, by way of illustrating the general 
applicability of gum-elastic to useful purposes, that this object 
has only been attained by resorting to the vulcanized fabrics, 

ot£^o • — — — — ■ — — r^^/'a 


sometimes in combination with metal, but in most cases alone. 
These contrivances are as admirably fitted for closing the aper- 
tures of the different articles, as the fabrics are for rendering 
the body of them water and air-tight. It is important for many 
reasons that trunks and boxes which are used for containing 
clothing, should be tight, for standing in the house, as well as 
on ship board, and should have water-proof and durable cov- 
ering, for some dwellings even, especially in new settlements, 
are not water-tight, and articles are exposed to be damaged 
in them, unless they are kept in trunks or boxes that are water- 

It is always desirable that both dust and dampness should be 
kept out of trunks and boxes that contain wearing apparel, be- 
cause in travelling, the damage to clothing is often very great 
from dust, as well as from exposure to the damp salt atmosphere, 
to say nothing of storms by sea and land. This damage is ef- 
fectually guarded against by the improvements in travelling 
apparatus. The exclusion of moths, without the use of articles 
that are offensive in clothing, such as tobacco and camphor, is 
another important advantage to be gained by the use of trunks, 
boxes, and bags of this kind. The incompressible bag is an 
improvement exactly suited to the rapid travelling of modern 
times. A very portable and flexible article of this kind, answers 
the purpose instead of heavy trunks, to carry small and light 
articles, which are exposed to be broken and damaged. It may 
be used also for a pillow, cushion, or foot-stool, without mate- 
rially injuring it, or exposing the contents to injury. 

The arrangement of these different articles, when used as life- 
preservers, may be more easily pointed out, and made more ap- 
parent in the descriptions of the particular articles. 

They may be considered perfectly safe as life-preservers, and 
although not so easily secured or bound to the person, they may 
be easily held on to, and easily attached together, to form rafts, 
or lashed to boats, so as to form life-boats of any wooden boats, 
although leaky. In order to impress the reader with the idea 
of the security of these articles, in comparison with those that 




are inflated with air, some remarks upon the buoyancy of dif- 
ferent articles may here be made. 

It is generally supposed, at any rate it is the first impression 
of most minds, and even of a great portion of those who are 
well educated, that in order that an article may be sufficiently 
buoyant to answer the purpose of a life-preserver, it must be in- 
flated with air, and must be so tight that the air cannot escape ; 
whereas if the sides of the article are kept distended, it may be 
very leaky, and it will yet be a great length of time before it will 
become unsafe, when otherwise it would collapse and allow the 
wearer to sink instantly, if the sides were not kept distended by 
some resistance greater than the pressure of the water without. 

The force of these remarks may be illustrated by a barrel 
with the bung out, or a demijohn with the cork out, both of 
which it is extremely difficult to sink in the water when they 
are empty, even when it is intended to do so. In most cases 
these articles will be quite safe as life-preservers, even if the 
article is not perfectly tight ; in other words, a small leak, that 
would cause an article inflated with air to collapse and sink 
immediately, will not affect the safety of these articles in the 
slightest degree.* 

The weight that Avill be sustained in the water by any of 
the articles hereafter described, may be certainly known by its 
cubic measurement, allowing sixty pounds to the cubic foot, and 
deducting the weight of the article ; that is to say, a trunk or 
valise weighing ten pounds, and measuring two cubic feet, will 
sustain an extra weight of one hundred and ten pounds in the 

It is well known that the specific gravity of the human body 
is less than that of water, and that it will not sink by its own 
weight, but it requires a buoyant power Avhich is equal, for 
the average of persons, to about nine pounds. In other words, 
any article that will keep afloat a lead weight of nine pounds, 
will sustain a person in such a position in the water that he 
will be safe from drowning ; but to make u more liberal allow- 

* See Reports, Chapter , page 




ance, the estimate would be better made at fifteen pounds for 
each individual; consequently, a person travelling with a trunk 
measuring three cubic feet, allowing thirty pounds weight for the 
trunk, would take safely on shore one hundred and fifty pounds 
weight of gold, or other valuable property. 

The proofs, with regard to the facts here stated, are ample, and 
the arguments should be conclusive ; but the most important 
theories may be well established, and yet remain practically 
unknown, owing to the difficulty of making that which is clear 
to the inventor, intelligible to practical operators, and to those 
who execute the designs of inventors, so that they may safely 
co-operate with him to produce the thing desired. It is be- 
lieved, however, that such a difficulty will not long exist on this 
subject, but that the specimens which have been made by the 
writer so demonstrate the utility of the articles, that they will, 
ere long, be brought into general use. 


That represented by fig. 1, plate , is a cheap kind of 

water-proof trunk. The frame or box is made of wood in the 
usual manner, and covered with gum-elastic vellum or vegetable 
leather. A groove of about half an inch in width is cut in the 
wood in the top edge of the trunk. This groove is filled with 
a gum-elastic sponge cord. The hinge of the trunk is made of 
gum-elastic stayed fabric, about two inches wide, extending the 
whole length of the trunk. Elastic buckle straps, such as are 
described on page , are used instead of leather. When 
these are drawn tight, the trunk is made impervious to air and 
water, by means of the gum-elastic sponge cord inserted in the 

Another method of making the trunks water and air-tight, is 
by a cushioned lid, both in the top and bottom of the trunk, as 
will be easily understood fi'om the plate , figs. 1 and 2. 



The method of rendering these trunks water and air-tight, is 
very similar to that used for the wooden trunk before described. 
Being made upon an iron frame instead of wood, the cushion is 
either fastened upon the top of the frame, or secured in a groove 
as represented, plate , fig. 

The body of the trunk is formed of caoutchouc whalebone 
or board, wrought and cemented together so as to be as 
light and strong as possible. This may be considered as one 
among the most important applications of gum-elastic, on the 
score of economy as well as utility. The saving of labor when 
compared with the all-leather trunk, for which they are intended 
to be substituted, is greater than in most articles of gum-elastic, 
except shoes and some parts of harness. 

A common sized trunk of this sort, measuring three cubic 
feet, allowing thirty pounds for weight, has buoyancy sufficient 
to sustain one hundred and fifty pounds of baggage, so that they 
may serve not onh^ all the purposes of a life-preserver, but at 
the same time will carry safe a large amount of specie or other 
valuables. A number of them lashed together will form a safe 
raft, or if lashed upon the outside of a boat, will make it perfectly 
safe for a much greater number of persons than it would other- 
wise carry ; and even if the boat is staved or broken, it may be 
made a perfect life-boat by lashing these trunks in it. This, 
like the one well known as the all-leather trunk, has the least 
weight combined with the greatest strength. The expense of 
the all-leather trunk has been a great hindrance to its general 
use, but the substitute here proposed, will probably be afforded 
at a much less expense than that has heretofore been. 


These do not require description further than has been given 
of trunks of a larger size, except that being smaller they may be 

s g)5^ — — — E^^SVP 



made without iron frames, or may be made in moulds like hollow- 
ware. When made wholly of gum-elastic materials, being water 
and air-tight, they are equally useful in proportion to their size 
for life-preservers, and are more readily kept at hand. 


The improvements which have been suggested for the manu- 
facture of trunks and valises, are equally applicable to hat and 
bonnet boxes, and the same advantages may be derived from 
their use in the same way. For no article is a cheap and sub- 
stantia] water-proof substance, instead, of paper, more needed 
than for band-boxes. For this purpose India rubber whalebone 
or whalebone board is unquestionably the thing required. 


See Chapter , — Traveling Apparatus. 


There are different ways of securing all the mouths of the 
water-proof bags that are noticed in this work, so as to make 
them air-tight, in which case they may, any of them, be used as 
life-preservers. The kinds which are most safe, and are most 
highly approved, are of very nearly the same construction as 
the one noticed as an improved traveling bag, page 350. They 
are made more complete by an improvement on the slide fasten- 
ing, by the addition of two or more clamps, with thumb screws. 
There is also a self-acting valve tube cemented in this bag, by 


which it is inflated with air, although when vulcanized on forms 
they retain their shape so as to be self-inflated sufficiently for 

They are manufactured from a variety of the gum-elastic 
fabrics combined. See plate , figs. 


This bag is constructed from two bags of very nearly the 
same pattern as the one last described. The two are united 
together at the bottom, and are laced or buckled at the sides, as 
represented, plate , figs. ; each bag is made air-tight by 

a separate slide. When laced together, a third compartment is 
formed for the reception of coarse articles, boots, shoes, &c. 
When unlaced, it may be used as a life-preserver, and is the 
most convenient article of this sort for holding one up in the 


These are manufactured in the same manner as the expansion 
trunks and valises described in Chapter XXVIII. A spring of 
elastic compound is inserted in the straps, by the elasticity of 
which the two parts of the trunk are drawn together, and the 
trunk made water and air-tight by compression against the 
sponge in the top of the lid. 



Fire escape rope. Package envelopes. Fruit package envelope. Improved fruit package 
envelope. Portable boats and pontoons. Portable boat. Portable folding boats. Portable 
life-boats. Self-inflating portable life-boats. Tubular portable life-boat. Folding frame boat. 
Box-boat. Batteaux and canoes. Matress boat. Self inflating pontoons. Self inflating pontoon 
raft. Self inflating wagon floats. Self inflating balsors and life spars. Life buoys. 

Most articles made from these fabrics may come under this 
head, as in some way tending to this object,* but reference is 
here made to such as are designed for the preservation of life 
and property in a manner different from those described in the 
preceding chapters ; viz., such as are used by individuals. 
Those here treated of are such as may be used for the pre- 
servation of the lives of numbers, and for the protection and 
preservation of provisions and property in commercial transit. 
All these, together with the others alluded to, are deemed 
worthy the notice of those who risk, and also of those who 
insure, property for transportation by sea, and equally so of 
those who risk or insure lives on the water ; as well as of 
the philanthropist who feels an interest in the progress of im- 
provements, whether he has any pecuniary interest in them or 

The preservation of life and valuable property on the water, 
is not now so difficult to accomplish as has heretofore been sup- 
posed, nor can a correct idea be formed, from the present prices 
of articles of this sort now in the market, at how cheap a rate 

Under the above head may very properly be included almost the whole class of articles de- 
scribed Chapter , Medical and Surgical. Some of these are too seldom wanted by any one 
individual, to warrant the expense of being provided with them all. It may be hoped that the 
e.Tpense of these will in future be so reduced that hospitals at least, and that families may in gen- 
eral have them. 


they may be furnished when the manufacture shall be exten- 
sively engaged in, with the important improvements in the con- 
struction and fastenings of these articles. The personal efforts 
of the inventor have long been directed to this class of articles, 
and those connected with the cause of education ; and it is his 
intention to continue them until the usefulness of the articles is 
so far demonstrated, that others shall duly appreciate the subject. 

A suggestion has befoi'e been made, that the importance of 
this subject demands there should be some public or individual 
philanthropic enterprise engaged in, with ample means for the 
supply of an assortment of such articles on the lowest possible 

To the description of articles which follows, a catalogue of 
others is added, with reference to their place in other parts of 
the work. 


The design of a rope constructed as here described, is to ex- 
tricate persons from the upper stories of buildings on fire. 
They are made as represented in plate , fig. , with a cross 

rope and handles, in order that after the rope is secured and 
passed from an adjoining building, persons may pass from one 
building to the other, or descend to the ground ; or they are 
made without handles, like the gymnastic rope hereafter de- 

The improvement which is made in this article, consists in 
inclosing the common hemp rope within an elastic hose, which 
being loose and stretching upon the rope, it allows one to 
descend easily upon it without chaffing or burning the hands. 

a^pio^.^ ~~ — _____ " ' - Cfe^iP 




Envelopes have already been noticed in another chapter, as 
useful in certain cases for the protection of papers. That which 
is of more general utility, is a water-proof envelope for the safe 
transportation of merchandize and provisions, especially of those 
that are perishable, such as flour, fruits, sugar, salt, &.c. In 
consequence of the recent invention of plated canvas, and pla- 
ted coarse bagging, by the method described. Vol. I., of this work, 
chapter , it has become practicable to make envelopes so 

cheap for such purposes, that it is believed this will be found to 
be one of the most useful applications of gum-elastic. 

The cheapest of these envelopes made of coarse canvas or 
bagging are plated or coated only upon the inside in this way. 
The wear is thus brought upon the outside of the bagging, which 
serves to protect the w^ater-proof coating upon the inside from 
damage. An inner apron or mouth, made of a lighter gum- 
elastic material, is cemented at the top upon the inside of the 
envelope. This apron or mouth being tightly fastened, will ex- 
clude all wet or dampness. One great economy in the use of 
such envelopes in addition to their close stowage for shipping or 
transportation, consists in their adaptation for use a great num- 
ber of times, for the same or for different purposes, on which 
account they become valuable to purchasers at retail, either for 
sale or for use, instead of being wasted or burned, as is often 
the case with cheap barrels and boxes. See Chapter fig 


These are made from heavy plated canvas for the same pur- 
poses as the envelopes before described. They are intended not 
I only to protect their contents from damage by wet, but also to 

,f^5^a _— — — tfH^^ 


preserve fruits and other perishable articles from decay. For 
this use the air must be exhausted from them by means of an air- 
pump, a tube being attached to them for this purpose. An iron 
rim is also attached to the mouth of each part of the envelope, 
one or both of which has a soft gum-elastic packing cemented 
upon the edge of it. When the contents are of such a kind as 
to be liable to injury, from atmospheric or other pressure from 
without the envelope, it becomes necessary to keep off this pres- 
sure, by first placing the contents in a strong box or barrel, or 
they may be protected by an iron frame within the envelope. 
See plate fig. 


This is made for the same use as the one above described, and 
in the same way, except that the package is made to fold like self- 
inflating air work, and is so constructed as to keep pressure 
off the contents by means of rims or discs of iron or whalebone 
board cemented in between the section, and by supports or 
braces, which prevent the envelope from collapsing in the other 
direction. See plate , fig. . 


Boats were among the first things that were attempted to be 
made of India rubber, not only in the United States, but also 
in Europe. But so far as the writer can ascertain, the experi- 
ments for this purpose have been chiefly confined to bags of 
air of various forms. Among these may be noticed the pon- 
ton made first for the United States Government, by the Rox- 
bury Company, in 1836, of unvulcanized gum-elastic, and a con- 
siderable number made of vulcanized gum-elastic in 1847, which 


were intended to be used in the Mexican Campaign. The first 
manufacture, as might be expected from the nature of the gum, 
was unsuccessful, and the practical utility of the latter, which 
were made to be filled with air only, may be considered equally 

Different attempts have also been made to make portable boats 
with folding wooden frames of various kinds ; but none of these 
seem to have succeeded further than as curious specimens, or so 
far as to be used to any considerable extent. 

A good portable boat, and particularly one that shall form a 
life-boat, is obviously a thing much needed. In portable boats 
savage tribes seem to have succeeded far better than civilized na- 
tions. The skill and ingenuity displayed by the native Indians of 
North America in the construction of the birch canoe may well 
claim the admiration of the best boat builder, and what is more, 
this canoe answers perfectly to his wandering propensities. A 
perfect model for speed, it is so strong that it will carry him over 
rivers, and lakes, and rapids, with its heaviest ladings, and yet so 
light that he carries it around dangerous rapids and falls, or from one 
river to another, apparently with as little effort as the bark carries 
him when launched. His skill in managing these canoes is even 
more surprising than that which he displays in building them. 
While they are so buoyant and unsteady as to render it unsafe, 
even with the greatest caution, for the most experienced seaman 
who is unacquainted with them to enter one, yet under the elas- 
tic step, and artfully-plied paddle of the Indian, it is controlled 
and moved with astonishing swiftness, as steadily as the sailors 
long boat.* 

Little less deserving of notice is the boat made of skins by the 
Esquimaux of Labrador, which answers his purpose equally 

* This fact is strikingly illustrated in the porpoise shooting of a tribe of Naragansetts atEastport, 
Maine. They will shoot with the rifle and take into their canoes, in a rough sea, a number of por- 
poises weighing hundreds each. The fish sink so soon after shooting that no white man can per- 
form the feat of reaching one in time, to say nothing of shipping him into a birch canoe. The 
Indians hunt these fish in .summer, for the oil which they often exchange with their white neigh- 
bors for dried codfish in winter, when with the same amount of labor they might catch twenty times 
the quantity offish with the hook. The same preference for hunting, leads them to spearing sal- 
mon at night, instead of catching fish with the hook, an occupation which they are said to despise. 



well, not only as a boat but as a life-boat which he so much 
needs. That so little has been done in this art by civilized 
nations, would seem only to be accounted for by the fact that 
their rivals were so far in advance, as to baffle their attempts to 
equal them, or that they have not had the material suitable to 
build with. Considering the suitableness of vulcanized fabrics 
for such purposes, and the improvements of the writer and 
others, in the construction of the boats hereafter noticed, it may 
be hoped that better success will attend this manufacture in 
future ; and it will be little to the credit of the India rubber 
manufactories, if they are not able to make better portable and 
life-boats than have yet been built. A few only of the various 
kinds which may be made of these materials are here noticed. 


A very light and strong portable boat is made from India 
rubber whalebone board in sheets, in the following manner. 
The sheets of board are cemented together upon a model or 
form of the shape required. It is next taken off, and placed 
inside another model of the same shape, in which it is vulcan- 
ized. The knees, gunwale, and braces are made of wood or iron 
covered with caoutchouc whalebone, and are cemented in before 


The portable folding boats that are deemed most deserving of 
notice, are the two following, as represented in the plate , 
figs. 1 and 2. The plan upon which these two are made is very 
similar, but they are folded together in different ways. That 
represented by fig. 1 occupies, when folded, less space in length 
than No. 2, but more in thickness. The covering of them both 



is made of plated canvas. The ribs or knees and braces which 
are made either of iron or wood, covered with caoutchouc 
whalebone, are cemented to the boat cover upon the inside. The 
ribs or knees are kept in place when the boat is opened by braces 
extending from one rib or knee to the other, and also by a keel- 
piece in the bottom of the boat. The ribs, keel, and braces of 
the boat, which are represented by fig. 2 are cemented on the 
inside of the boat in the same way as those of fig. 1, but they 
are made to run longitudinally with the boat ; when folded, the 
ribs fit one within the other, so that this boat occupies a smaller 
space in thickness than fig. 1 ; when opened, the ribs are sup- 
ported by braces extending from the keel to the gunwale. 


The portable life-boat represented by fig. , is made of caout- 
chouc whalebone board, and constructed in the same way as the 
ship's boats described in Chap. ; the gunwales, ribs, and 

seats being made of tubes or cylinders of whalebone board, of 
such dimensions as will render the boats more or less buoyant in 
proportion to their size. Compartments of the same material 
are made in the bow and stern of the boat, air-tight. The keel 
is also formed of a cylinder, so arranged that it may be filled with 
water, to give ballast to the boat, and pumped out when neces- 
sary. See plate , fig. 


These are also of two kinds, resembling each other as the two 
portable boats before described. They are, in fact, the same 
boat, with the addition of a tube or air-chamber made of plated 
fabrics, between the knees or ribs of the boat. Instead, how- 
ever, of the ribs or knees being made of iron or wood, they may 
be dispensed with by making the divisions between the tubes or 
air-chambers of caoutchouc whalebone, of suflicient strength to 

f^ ^: 

»lS^s • — — — e^^ 


keep the boat firm without other ribs ; each of the air-chambers 
is inflated by a separate tube, and upon being distended, the 
whole boat is self-inflated, and is prevented from collapsing, in 
the same manner as the other self-inflating air-work pontoons, 
life-buoys, &;c., which are stayed by whalebone board between 
the compartments. See plate , figs. . 


Tubular portable boats and life-boats, represented in plate , 
fig. , are formed of tubes, from one to two inches in diameter. 
These tubes, which are made of whalebone board, are cemented 
together lengthwise upon a model of a boat, after which they 
are stayed, finished, and vulcanized in another model, in the 
same manner as the ship's boats described, Chap. 
These boats, in consequence of each tube being made separately 
water-tight, are more safe as life-boats, besides being stronger 
than those made of sheets of whalebone, although not so light 
and portable. 


This is a form of boat, the frame of which is made of wood, 
united by joints and hinges, as represented by plate , fig. 
The cover, which is put on and off" as required, is made of plated 
gum-elastic canvas. It is light and convenient, but somewhat 
objectionable, chiefly on account of the number of pieces and 
joints in the frame. It is rendered a safe boat, or life-boat, by 
air-chambers cemented to the top of the cover. See plate , 


This boat is made of caoutchouc whalebone in two equal 
parts, which may be connected by hinges and shutter bolts. 
When shut together, they form a serviceable box or trunk. See 
plate , Chap. 



Batteaux and canoes of different forms, made of caoutchouc 
whalebone board, are both light enough to be portable and strong 
enough for common use. They are constructed upon the same 
general plan as the other boats before specified, which are made 
from caoutchouc whalebone and whalebone board, in sheets. 
See plate , fig. . 


The matress boat is one which, when folded, forms a good 
ship's matress, and has been noticed as such. Chap. , p. 


These were among the assortment of articles that were exhib- 
ited at the London World's Fair of 1851, for which a council 
medal was awarded to the writer. It is a kind of pontoon before 
alluded to as being an improvement upon those filled with air 
only. They are made of plated canvas, and are commonly 
about fourteen feet in length and eighteen inches in diameter, 
being made either round or square. Each pontoon is composed 
of from twelve to eighteen separate chambers or compartments, 
each of these chambers is self-inflated by a separate tube or 
orifice. It is inflated simply by pulling the ends of the pontoon 
apart; a sheet of caoutchouc whalebone board, of the size of 
the pontoon, is cemented in between every two compartments. 
These boards serve to keep the pontoons from collapsing, and 
when fitted for use they are prevented from collapsing length- 
wise, by a spar fastened upon each one or between every two 
pontoons, when used in pairs. 


The construction of these pontoons is such, that they will not 
collapse or be rendered unsafe in consequence of a leak, unless 
it happens to be a large one upon the water-line ; neither is it 
indispensable that the tube or orifice should be stopped, in order 
to keep them inflated. See plate , fig. 


This raft may be formed from any description of air cylinder 
represented in plates , figs. . But the kind which is 
decidedly best adapted for this use, is the self-inflating pontoon 
described in this chapter. 

In order to form one of these rafts, two of these pontoons or 
balsors are inflated and kept distended by a spar between them, 
to which they are fastened at each end. They are kept at any 
suitable distance apart by a transverse spar at both ends of the 

An India rubber canvas is drawn under them, which enables 
them to carry a large freight in smooth water without danger of 
its being wet ; or, if the canvas is made larger, and is allowed to 
fall far below the cylinders, the raft will float a much larger 
freight or a much greater number of persons safely, in proportion 
to the bulk of the freight. 

Rafts of this kind may be recommended as the surest and 
most economical means of saving the greatest number of lives 
and the largest amount of property, in cases of accident so de- 
structive to both, and so very frequent upon navigable rivers and 
lakes. They are not expensive, and occupy but small space — 
say three feet by six — for one large enough to save the lives of 
three hundred persons. They are extremely light. There is 
not the slightest danger of the cylinders collapsing, and they can 
be fitted for use and launched in two or three minutes, without 



The cylinders for these floats are made in every particular 
like the pontoons last described, and may be considered an im- 
provement upon the wagon float invented by Col. Staunton, 
described page . So far as the security of the floats against 
collapsing, and the faciHty of inflating them are concerned, they 
are unquestionably an improvement. The method of attaching 
them for supporting the wagons is the same as with the plain 


They are made in every respect like the self-inflating pontoons 
and other self-inflating articles, in which the compartments are 
prevented from collapsing by sheets of caoutchouc whalebone 
board cemented between them, each compartment being inflated 
by a separate tube. They are, however, made of smaller dimen- 
sions, or from eight to twelve inches diameter and from twelve 
to twenty feet in length. They are designed to be used as life- 
spars, or to be fastened upon boats to prevent them from 


See Chapter XI. 



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